Hurt in a Bicycle Accident? Know Your Options
If you’ve been injured in an accident while riding your bicycle, you’re not alone. There are about 60,000 bicyclists injured in accidents with cars or trucks each year — and the number of cycling-related accidents has surged in recent years as distracted driving has increased.
An injury to a bicyclist in a collision involving a car or truck can lead to very serious injury and long-term health issues. Someone riding a bicycle who is hit by a vehicle can face a long and painful recovery.
Some of the most common causes of bicycle accidents are directly caused by automobile drivers.
- Driving while distracted
- Following cyclists too closely
- Changing lanes unsafely
- Turning without looking
- Running a stop sign or red light
- Failing to yield
- Feeling fatigued
- Driving while impaired
- Opening a door and hitting or obstructing a cyclist
A majority of cycling-related hospital visits involve some sort of head injury, and the lifetime financial cost of a traumatic brain injury can be as high as $3 million. Even less severe head injuries can result in six-figure expenses.
Ritchie Reiersen Law Personal Injury Attorneys are known in the community as the best bicycle accident attorneys in the area. If you have been involved in a cycling-related accident in Auburn, Kennewick, Pasco, Richland, Seattle, or Yakima, Ritchie Reiersen Law attorneys can help you receive the support you need and get the compensation you deserve.
If the driver of the vehicle was careless or negligent, the cyclist may be entitled to a financial settlement — but insurers will often resist. When the insurer does not pay up, the cyclist is left on the hook for medical bills, on top of the lost wages and many physical and mental challenges that come with the recovery.
If you have been in a bicycle accident with a motor vehicle, your claim will be made against the driver’s insurance policy. The insurance company has a fiduciary duty to protect the interests of the policyholder. The insurer will not look out for you!
Here are some things you should do if you have been in a traffic accident while riding a bicycle:
- Collect witness information and preserve evidence (photos of the accident scene, damage to your bicycle and clothing, etc.).
- Do not apologize or admit to liability, even if you think the accident was your fault.
- Review your insurance policy.
- Contact Ritchie Reiersen Law as soon as possible, and get a detailed statement of your experience on record!
In Washington State, to prove that a motor vehicle driver was negligent in an accident with a bicyclist, the cyclist must show that:
- The driver owed the bicyclist a duty. All drivers have a duty to exercise reasonable care to avoid harming others on the road.
- The driver breached their duty. The bicyclist will have to show that the driver failed to exercise a reasonable degree of care.
- The bicyclist was injured as a result of the driver’s breach. It is not enough that the driver failed to exercise reasonable care. The cyclist must prove that the failure caused the accident and the resulting injuries.
The claims process for a bicycle-related injury can be complicated and arduous, and having an attorney who is experienced in such cases can make the process less stressful. Determination of fault, and of compensation, often comes down to whether the cyclist or the driver was in violation of the law when the accident occurred. But since the cyclist is much more likely to sustain an injury, in Washington State as well as some other states, the cyclist may be entitled to compensation even if they were primarily at fault.
Ritchie Reiersen Law personal injury attorneys will tell you from experience that oftentimes insurance companies are reluctant to pay full value on bicycle claims. If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident involving a bicycle, call Ritchie Reiersen Law today. At Ritchie Reiersen Law, we have experienced attorneys who are passionate about helping victims receive the help they need. Call us or fill out a contact form NOW!