When bicyclists and drivers share the road, cyclists are at risk for accident and injuries. This is due, in part, to the size of motor vehicles compared to bicycles. If you have been involved in a bicycling accident with a driver, you are entitled to compensation for your injuries. Meeting with an experienced attorney can help determine if your case is worth pursuing. Cyclists involved in an accident can be compensated for medical bills, lost income, property damage, as well as pain and suffering.
The Advocates Law knows about bicycle accident laws. The following is helpful information on why you should consult an attorney, even when an insurance company makes you a settlement offer:
- In Washington, bicyclists have the same rights on the road as the motorized vehicles do. The same traffic laws govern bicycles and cars or trucks. However, that does not guarantee that drivers sharing the road know that.
- The traffic laws govern what a bicyclist can do, but they also protect bicyclists from the actions of reckless or negligent drivers.
- Bicycle riders must stop at all red lights and stop signs and must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians.
- Traffic laws may seem restrictive when you are on a bicycle, but those same laws give you the right to seek compensation for being injured in an accident.
For your safety, it is extremely important to obey traffic laws while riding a bike. Here are some Washington State laws to bear in mind whenever you are riding a bicycle:
- 46.61.755 grants you all of the rights and responsibilities of a motorist. This means that you are granted the same rights as drivers of other vehicles, but you also have the same duties such as yielding the right-of-way to pedestrians, as well as stopping at red lights and stop signs.
- 46.61.770 allows cyclists to ride side by side but no more than two abreast.
- 46.61.770 allows cyclists to choose between the roadway, a bike path, a bike lane, or the shoulder as suits their needs.
- 46.61.780 requires riders to have a white front light and a red rear reflector when riding at night to increase visibility.
Most cyclists today, even casual riders, know the importance of wearing proper safety equipment. Helmets provide protection from head injuries, and brightly colored clothes and bike lights help you to be seen. Nevertheless, these common sense precautions can’t protect you from all bicycle accident injuries. Because you are so exposed on a bike, even a minor accident can cause serious injuries and costly medical bills.
How an Attorney Can Help with A Bicycle Accident Claim
Insurance companies typically offer the lowest possible payout for bike accident injuries. The insurance company will do this even when the policyholder is grossly at fault. To save money, insurance companies often downplay the seriousness of bicycle accident injuries and the amount of time you will need to recover. Having an experienced attorney, familiar with bicycle accident law, can help you win fair compensation.
Most Insurance Companies Don’t Take Bike Accident Compensation Seriously
Ideally, the insurance company should provide full compensation after a bicycle accident. Instead, they are representing their own interests. You need legal help for a bike accident. If you are injured in a bike accident, the costly bills should not be your sole responsibility. An expert bike accident attorney will take on the insurance company, maximize the value of your bike accident claim, and help you get the compensation you deserve.
What to Do Following a Bicycle Accident
Every accident is unique. This is especially true for car-bike accidents. If it happens to you, no matter how minor it may seem, remain on the scene until police arrive. If you leave the scene, getting the driver’s information may not be enough to settle your case. Many people involved in car-bicycle accidents don’t realize they are injured because of adrenaline and other factors. Sometimes, what seems to be only a minor injury, turns out to be a serious disability.
At the scene of the accident, never discuss who was at fault or apologize. This advice can be hard to follow, but if you need to seek a bicycle accident claim, apologizing at the scene could jeopardize your case.
If possible, get any information you can from witnesses and the driver. If you do need to make a bicycle accident claim, this information will be vital to your case. Document as best you can what happened and the extent of your injuries (photos, etc.), which will be very beneficial to your attorney.
You should seek knowledgeable legal help for a bike accident. Contact the Advocates Law for a free consultation.
Accidents Involving a Bike and a Car
When you are in a car and bicycle accident, it’s likely that damage to the vehicle and its occupants will be minimal. However, because of the lack of protection for a cyclist, the accident will probably result in an injury to the person on the bicycle. There are several common scenarios that involve a motor vehicle driver’s negligence that result in a car and bicycle accident. The Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC) reports that the most common factors contributing to bicycle accidents are:
- Drivers failing to see the bicyclist
- Careless and reckless driving
- Excessive speed of the vehicle
- Under influence of alcohol and/or drugs
In 2012, the WTSC reported 1,294 car and bicycle accidents. Of those accidents, 1,214 resulted in injury. While over half of the reported car and bicycle accidents were caused by the driver being at fault, there are also several common factors where negligence from the bicyclist was the contributing factor. The most common causes of a car and bike accident where the cyclist at fault was:
- Failure to yield right-of-way to an automobile
- Riding the bicycle on the wrong side of the road
- Disregarding traffic signs or signals
- Under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs
Bike accident statistics show that most accidents result in injury for the cyclist. If you have been injured in a bike accident and you need legal help, contact the personal injury experts at the Advocates Law. The experienced bicycle accident injury lawyers at the Advocates Law have the expertise you need to win your case.
Bicycle Accident Injury
Car vs. bike accidents often causes serious injury to the bicyclist. A bicycle accident injury can be a life-changing event. The consequences of your injury could have lifelong effects. Your bicycle accident injury may affect your lifelong ability to work and care for your family. Some common bike accident injuries include:
- Broken and fractured bones
- Traumatic brain injury, (TBI)
- Neck, back, and spine injury
- Nerve damage
- Joint dislocation
The majority of bicycle accident injuries happen in urban areas because of the increased use of bicycles in these areas. The severity of injuries in a bike accident normally increases with the speed of the cyclist. Accidents with children on bicycles, especially when those accidents involve a motor vehicle, are exceptionally prone to injury. Statistics show that males are more likely to be injured in a bicycle accident than females.
Bicycle accident statistics show that injuries are more likely to occur on certain types of roadways. Almost two-thirds of bike accident injuries or fatalities occur in intersections, with T intersections appearing to be the most dangerous places for cyclists, followed by roundabouts.
An injury lawyer at the Advocates Law has experience in a wide variety of injury cases including bicycle accidents. This experience has proven invaluable for clients as our attorneys negotiate, litigate, and defend their client’s rights. If you have experienced a bicycle accident injury, contact the bike accident attorneys at the Advocates Law.
Bicycle Accident Laws
With increased usage of bicycles, there has been an increase in the number of bicycle accidents and injuries. Cities work to keep up with increased cycling by adding bike lanes and setting laws to help keep cyclists safe. But motorists and cyclists alike must be aware of bicycle laws to help keep the roadways safe. Incidents like being “doored,” (where an unsuspecting bicycle rider has a car door open and hit them) are on the rise.
Many laws that apply to a motor vehicle accident also apply to a bicycle accident. If you have been involved in an accident, contact law enforcement and file an accident report at the scene. If you are physically able at the time, collect the contact and insurance information of the vehicle involved in your accident.
Because bicycle accident laws are similar to vehicle accidents, seek medical attention to make sure you don’t have serious injuries. Often our body’s adrenaline can keep us from recognizing a serious injury at the time of the accident.
Bicycle Accident Compensation
One common question after a bicycle accident, with the medical bills and property damage, is, “Will I get enough to pay all my bills?” Rest assured, we will try to get you every penny of a fair compensation. There is no set amount by the insurance companies for your bicycle accident compensation. The purpose of compensation is to cover things like property damage, medical expenses, lost wages from missing work due to injuries, future loss of mobility or permanent disability, and other costs.
Similar to a motor vehicle accident, bicycle accident compensation is paid out by the at-fault driver’s insurance. Even if the motor vehicle is stopped and you are “doored,” their insurance is responsible for your compensation. Common accidents receiving compensation include:
- Rear ended by a vehicle
- Sideswiped by a vehicle changing lanes or turning
- Being run off the road by a vehicle
- Getting “doored” from a parked vehicle
There are certain steps you can take that will help your bicycle accident attorney win your case. One important thing you should do is to collect the contact information of the driver and of any witnesses to the accident. Preserving evidence from the accident can be very helpful. This might be simply snapping photos with your cell phone, but also might include saving your torn or bloody clothing. Saving damaged property will also be helpful, like helmets or keeping the bicycle in its damaged state as evidence of the accident.
The bicycle accident lawyers at the Advocates Law have experience in negotiating aggressively with the insurance companies to get compensation for your accident. They have expertise in litigating against insurance companies to win favorable awards on behalf of their clients.
Bicycle Accident Need to Know
One of the most important things you need to know is that you have the right to an attorney to represent you, defend your rights, and negotiate on your behalf. This single factor alone can make the difference in getting a settlement. Because the big insurance companies are in business to make profits, they have teams of claims adjusters, trained to keep settlements and payout costs as low as possible. Insurance companies also have teams of attorneys to protect their interests. It is critical that you, as the accident victim, are represented fairly but aggressively.
Having the necessary automobile, health, and sometimes home owner’s insurance can provide you with coverage for your bicycle accident with another vehicle.
If you have more questions regarding your bicycle accident case or claim, the legal professionals at the Advocates Law are ready to answer your questions. Remember that at the Advocates Law, your case evaluation, consultation, and expert advice are always free. Call us today!