Free Bicycle Accident Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one has been severely injured in a bike accident, you should contact our law firm immediately for a free consultation. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and lost wages by filing a personal injury lawsuit and a personal injury lawyer can help.
How Do Bicycle Accidents Occur?
Bicycle riders suffer a staggering number of injuries and fatalities in car accidents involving a motor vehicle, and those accidents are usually caused by the at-fault driver. Following a bicycle accident injury, it is very important to consult with a qualified bicycle accident attorney as soon as possible.
It’s hard to believe, but a fatal bicycle accident occurs once every 6 hours.
There are about 73 to 85 million cyclists in the U.S., including at least 44 million people over the age of six. About 540,000 bicyclists visit emergency rooms with injuries every year, and over 90% of bicyclist wrongful deaths happen when people are hit by a car.
Bicycle Accident Injuries
Bicycle accidents commonly result in a variety of serious injuries, in addition to death. Common injuries from accidents include:
- Head injury
- Spinal cord injuries
- Severed limbs
- Serious abrasions or "road rash" that can lead to infection
- Multiple soft tissue injuries
- Broken arm
- Physical pain
- More serious injuries
- Wrongful death
- Minor injuries
- The need for physical therapy
- Property damage
These types of injuries common to bike accidents may deprive a bicycle rider not only of his or her good health, but of the bicyclist's capacity to earn a living, and the ability to care for his or her family. Bicycle accident victims often require costly care for medical expenses from resulting injuries. The need for this care in personal injury cases involving catastrophic injuries may continue throughout the cyclist's entire life.
Among the factors our skilled professionals will consider in your bicycle accident case:
- Liability (negligent party)
- At fault
- If you were hit by a car
- Legal compensation
- Medical compensation
- Insurance policy
- Traffic laws
- Property damage
- Traffic lights / stop sign
Given the seriousness of the types of injuries often seen in accidents, these cases tend to be complex. Having an accident lawyer who is familiar with cases involving serious, possibly catastrophic injuries can make the difference in whether you are able to achieve a successful resolution of your unfortunate event.
See all personal accidents claims we've taken on.
What to Expect from the Bicycle Accident Settlement Process
Cyclists who are injured in an accident may be entitled to compensation for their injuries. To be eligible for compensation, the bicyclist needs to prove that the car driver failed to obey the law.
A driver is at fault when his or her negligence is a cause of the accident, even if it is not the primary cause. Drivers are negligent when they disobey traffic laws, drive carelessly or drive under the influence.
If a car door hit your bicycle because you ran a red light, you were at fault and probably will not be able to recover compensation for your injuries. On the other hand, if the car that hit you ran a red light and struck you while you were lawfully in the intersection, a college student has a much better chance of recovering damages.
Determining fault in an accident is not always easy. For example, in an uncontrolled intersection (one with no traffic light), the driver or the bicyclist’s right of way is often in dispute. In many cases, fault for the accident is shared. When a driver and bicyclist collide because neither of them paid close attention to traffic, they are both responsible for the accident.
What is Negligence in a Bike Accident Case?
Many states use a rule known as "comparative negligence" to determine compensation when both the bicyclist and a driver are at fault. This rule requires a comparison of fault.
For example, if negligent drivers were 80% at fault and a bicyclist was 20% at fault, the bicyclist is entitled to recover 80% of their damages in the accident. If distracted driving caused the bicyclist to sustain damages valued at $20,000, the bicyclist would be entitled to recover 80% of that value ($16,000).
Some states permit the plaintiff alleged to recover damages, even if the bicyclist’s fault was greater than the driver’s in the accident. If the bicyclist’s damages have a value of $20,000, but the bicyclist was 90% at fault for the accident, the bicyclist can still recover 10% of their damages ($2,000).
The Impact of Auto Insurance Companies in Bike Accident Settlements
In most cases, the driver's insurance company will play a significant role in the value of your claim resulting from the accident. The insurance company itself and even the insurance adjuster assigned to your case could have a major impact on the final settlement.
While people injured in typical car accidents may be temporarily injured as a result of a crash, bicyclists tend to have ongoing issues related to their injuries. Consequently, the personal injury lawyers at Schmidt & Clark, LLP, approach each interaction with insurance companies and medical professionals with the understanding of the significance of the negotiations.
7 Steps to Resolving a Bike Accident Lawsuit
When cyclists have an accident, many don’t know what steps to take after the incident. This is when it becomes more difficult for cyclists to get compensation due to lack of documentation and proof.
So if you were recently involved in a bike accident, you should take these 7 steps as soon as possible:
Step 1: Take Pictures and Gather Information
When on the scene of the bicycle accident, use your phone to take pictures of the scene, the bike lane, damages, your injuries, and contact information from any involved parties or available witnesses. It is very important to get names, addresses, and phone numbers of the person at fault for the bicycle accident – including their auto insurance information. When law enforcement arrives, get their names, badge number, and the police report number.
Step 2: Seek Medical Treatment
If you've been injured, go to the hospital as soon as possible for an official evaluation with a healthcare professional. Failing to perform this step can negatively affect you by:
- Neglecting to obtain immediate treatment can worsen your injuries, increasing the recovery time to go back to riding, or even worse, making you unable to ride for the foreseeable future.
- Delay can also give insurance adjusters a reason to argue that your injuries weren’t that serious.
When getting treatment, be sure to keep notes of the process and retain all official documentation. It is also important that you follow through with the treatment plan provided to you by your doctor. Failing to do so is another weapon the insurance company can use against you when negotiating an insurance settlement.
Step 3: Get Legal Assistance
Although it is possible to pursue legal action on your own, uninformed individuals can miss vital steps which can make a huge difference in future payouts. Seek a knowledgeable professional and get started right away! The more serious the accident, the more crucial it is that you hire a lawyer. If the following is true for you, then finding legal representation is essential:
- You broke a bone, have serious road-rash or other serious injuries
- You missed more than a couple days of work
- Your medical bills total more than a few thousand dollars
Step 4: Investigation and Negotiation
In this step in the bicycle accident lawsuit, your personal injury attorney will review your case and interview you about the incident. You will have to share all of the documentation you’ve collected, from doctor’s notes to hospital invoices. Once your lawyer reviews your medical records, the insurance company will be able to advise whether a personal injury attorney is needed for medical bills and lost wages, and what the best course of action will be.
In many cases, a lawyer can settle a personal injury claim outside the court by contacting the insurance company or the defendant’s attorney to make a demand. Injuries that cause permanent impairment may require a lawsuit. If a lawsuit is the best route, it will take time to happen. An attorney will be best suited to explain this after reviewing all facts and medical bills associated with your accident.
Step 5: File a Personal Injury Claim
In most states, you generally have 2 years from the date of your injury to go to court and file a lawsuit. The only exception is if a government entity is involved as a party in any way, then the timeline for filing a claim can be as short as just 6 months. The trial discovery stage can consist of the following:
- The two sides questioning one another, along with a request for documentation.
- Relevant witnesses speak, and a settlement discussion takes place. Many times, the legal teams can come to a mutual agreement.
- In some cases, a mediator is brought in to settle the case outside of the court.
Step 6: Go to Trial (if Necessary)
If mediation doesn’t conclude in an amicable outcome, the court will officially arrange your case for trial. The trial can end in one day or stretch over a couple of weeks, depending on the specifics of your case. The trial can even get rescheduled after the set date to fit with the judge’s schedule, so be prepared to put in some time.
Step 7: Resolution
After the bicycle accident lawsuit trial, the court will deliver the outcome and award a judgment award, if appropriate. A contingency fee will be paid to your attorney if money gets collected. If no money was collected, then you don’t have to pay any fee to your lawyer.
Resolving a bike accident lawsuit may seem overwhelming. However, at Schmidt & Clark, LLP, we make this process easy for you with our years of experience in the field. We will make sure you get adequately compensated and go back to riding as soon as possible. We understand what it’s like to be frustrated about not being able to ride due to a bicycle accident, which is why we are determined to help you resolve your case so that you can focus on recuperation and getting back to doing what’s really important: getting back to normal life!
Get a Free Lawsuit Evaluation With Our Bicycle Accident Lawyers
The Personal Injury & Product Liability Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus exclusively on the representation of plaintiffs in cycling injury accident lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new bicycle accident lawsuit cases in all 50 states.
Again, if you were injured in a bicycle accident, you should contact our law firm immediately for a free case evaluation. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit and our law firm can help.