Bicycles, like Motorcycles, Aren’t Easy To See

Especially if a Driver Isn’t Paying Attention.

If You Have Been Involved In a Bicycle Accident Involving an Automobile, There Is a Very Good Chance You Have Suffered Serious Injuries.

Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help With Bicycle Accidents, Too

At Ritchie Reiersen Law, our personal injury attorneys will tell you from experience that oftentimes insurance companies are reluctant to pay full value on bicycle claims. When a bicyclist is hit by a careless or negligent driver, the injuries tend to be very serious.

If the insurance company is allowed to bully the victim and not pay a proper compensation, the victim is left uncompensated for medical bills, lost wages, and significant inconveniences to their life. 

Injuries from bicycle accidents most often include head injuries – in fact, the majority of the 80,000 hospital visits for cycling-related injuries were for brain injuries.  Considering the lifetime costs estimates for traumatic brain injuries range from $85,000 to $3 million, depending on severity, it is essential to have appropriate compensation from the responsible party and their insurance carrier.

If you or someone you know has been involved in a car accident involving a bicycle, call Ritchie Reiersen Bicycle Accident Attorneys today. At Ritchie Reiersen Law, we have personal injury attorneys who are passionate about helping victims receive the help they need. 

We understand the laws and will stand up for your rights. Most importantly, we are committed to help you receive the compensation you deserve for the injuries you sustained.  Ritchie Reiersen Personal Injury Attorneys have offices in Portland, Seattle, Yakima, Kennewick, Auburn and Tacoma. Call us today at (888) 884-7337.

When Should I Consult a Bicycle Accident Attorney?

If you have been injured while riding your bicycle, it is important to consult with a qualified bicycle accident attorney as soon as possible. Because memories and details fade over time, it is imperative to talk with an attorney and record a detailed statement of your experience as soon as you can.

Insurance companies will attempt to get out of compensating you for your injuries. With an experienced personal injury attorney on your side, you can focus on healing while we fight for your rights. As soon as you have been involved in a bicycle accident, call Ritchie Reiersen Law at (888) 884-7337. We have local personal injury attorneys at offices in Yakima, Kennewick, Portland, Tacoma, and Auburn for your convenience.  

accident

Bicycle Accident Attorney Dedicated to Helping Injured Victims

Sadly, the number of bicycle riders suffering serious injuries and fatalities in accidents involving motor vehicles is increasing. In 2018, according to the NHTSA, roughly 60,000 bicyclists were injured in traffic accidents in the United States and 857 individuals were killed. Unfortunately, many drivers of cars and trucks usually do not pay adequate attention to their surroundings. 

 

State laws protect bicyclists and give them the same rights as motorists have to use the streets.  Having an experienced bicycle accident lawyer on your side, fighting to protect your rights after an accident, can make a major difference on the outcome of your claim.  For a free consultation with a personal injury attorney, call Ritchie Reiersen Law today at (888) 884-7337.  

Kennewick

316 N Neel St
Kennewick, WA 99336

(509) 396-5577

Auburn

110 2nd St. SW Ste 135
Auburn, WA 98001

(253) 204-2244

Yakima

3919 W. Nob Hill Blvd
Yakima, WA 98902

(509) 658-7000

Tacoma

10116 36th Ave Ct SW Ste 106
Lakewood, WA 98499

(253) 204-2244

Get the Help You Deserve

With a qualified personal injury attorney on your side, we will fight to ensure that you receive fair compensation.  

After being injured in an accident, your top priority is to focus on healing. Your personal injury attorney will handle the insurance company, the medical bills, and all the legal paperwork.

An injury can change your life – but it doesn’t have to ruin it.  Let us help you recover what was lost due to someone else’s mistake.  We can help you get your life back on track.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do bicyclists have the right of way?

Unlike pedestrians, who have the right of way at an intersection, bicyclists are considered vehicles and must therefore follow the same rules as the automobiles on the road. This includes obeying stop signs, traffic signals, and yielding to pedestrians.

Am I legally required to wear a bike helmet?

Neither Washington nor Oregon require bike helmets to be worn by adults over the age of 18 (16 in Oregon); however, the life-saving effects of helmets are unquestionable and therefore the personal injury attorneys at Ritchie Reiersen Law strongly recommend all bicyclists wear a helmet every time they ride. 

What should I do if I am in a bicycle accident with an automobile?

Being in an accident while riding your bike can be a frightening ordeal. How you handle yourself and what you do at the scene can have an effect on the outcome of the accident.

 

  • Call the police. Even if you don’t think you are injured at the time of the accident, injuries may take some to show. Having a police report can help identify the driver of the automobile, document everything that happened, and help sort out fault. An advantage of having the police come is they may ticket the other driver, which can help when it comes time to work with insurance for compensation for injuries.
  • Make sure your version of the accident is in the police report. Sometimes police interview the driver of the automobile, but not the person who is on the bike. Do all you can to tell your side of the story. Mention any injury – regardless of how “small” it may seem. Sometimes seemingly small injuries end up being major.
  • Get driver and witness contact information. Don’t assume the police report will include these items. Having this information will make your life easier if you run into problems with your insurance claim.
  • Document your experience. Make detailed notes about everything that happened. What happened, where it happened, when it happened, how it happened, and any additional pertinent information, such as weather, road conditions, or time of day.
  • Seek medical attention and document your injuries, even if they are minor. Your medical documents then become proof of injury and can help you receive compensation for the injuries. Delaying medical care allows the insurance carrier to question whether or not your injuries are really due to the accident. Have someone take photos of your injuries as soon as possible for documentation purposes as well.
  • Preserve evidence. Leave your bicycle and other damaged property in the condition it is in after the accident – don’t have it inspected or repaired. Don’t wash your clothing. Take photos of your damaged equipment and clothes..
  • Seek professional legal advice. Accidents between cars and bikes can become a complex legal issue. Speak with an attorney who has experience with bicycle accident victims before you talk with insurance companies. Most personal injury attorneys will offer a free consultation.
If a bike and a car collide, who is responsible?

Most people assume that because a bike is the smaller “vehicle” between the two – and powered by human legs – liability will clearly end up on the shoulders of the driver of the automobile when the two vehicles are in a collision. However, this isn’t always the case. Bicycles are considered vehicles in almost every state’s traffic code; therefore, bicycles are expected to follow the same rules of the road as all other vehicles do.

 If a bicyclist attempts to cross an intersection on a red light and is hit by an automobile who has a green light, the bicyclist would have a difficult time receiving compensation for the injuries they sustained. In this instance, they would be seen as acting with negligence and would be considered at-fault. 

 If a bicyclist is hit in an intersection because the driver of an automobile failed to give them right of way, then the automobile driver would be held responsible for the collision and the injured bicyclist would have an easier time receiving compensation for the damages they sustained.

How can I avoid a bicycle accident?

The best way to avoid accidents when you are riding a bicycle is to remember that a bike is considered a “vehicle” and therefore you are expected to follow the same rules of the road as automobiles are. Bicycles are at higher risk of being hit simply due to size – both bike and rider are comparatively small in relation to road traffic, and can be overlooked if the driver of the automobile isn’t being careful. Taking the following precautions can help keep you safer when you are riding:

  • Ride on the right side of the road: go with the flow of traffic. Riding against traffic is not only against the law, it accounts for a large portion of accidents.
  • Maximize your visibility.
  • Obey all stop signs and traffic signals.
  • Recognize that intersections are the most likely spot to have an accident with another vehicle, and take precautions to keep yourself safe at intersections.
  • Be aware of slippery or loose surfaces: gravel, ice, snow, leaves, wet manhole covers, and crosswalk markings.
Is there a statute of limitations for bicycle injuries?

A statute of limitation is a law that sets a strictly-enforced time limit on your right to file a lawsuit in civil court for a personal injury. In Washington, bicycle accidents have a three year limit; Oregon’s statute of limitations is two years. There may be some limited exceptions to this time limit – such as if the injury happens to a person under the age of 18. An experienced bicycle injury attorney can help you determine how much time you have, depending on your unique scenario.

What are my responsibilities as a bicyclist?

Just as bicyclists have the same rights as motorists, the same responsibilities also apply.  A bicyclist must obey all traffic laws, use hand signals, ride with traffic, equip the bike with correct lights, and refrain from riding under the influence of drugs or alcohol. 

What kind of damages can I collect in a bicycle accident?

The amount of damages you are entitled to receive will vary from case to case. In general, however, victims in a bicycle accident may be entitled to receive compensation for their medical bills, cost of future medical care, lost wages, and loss of future earning capacity. Victims may also be eligible to receive damages for pain and suffering, decreased quality of life, and scarring and disfigurement. Because no two accidents are the same, it is important to contact an experienced bicycle accident attorney as soon as possible to receive legal guidance and ensure your rights are protected.

What are my rights as a bicyclist?

Bicyclists are granted the same legal rights as automobiles to use public roads.

If I violate a traffic rule, can I still recover damages from my bicycle accident?

Washington and Oregon both operate on “comparative negligence” law. This means that even if you are partially responsible for the accident, you can still recover compensation for part of the damages. If you are found to be 20% responsible for the accident, for instance, then your compensation amount would be reduced by 20% of the total in Washington. In Oregon, the comparative negligence system is modified slightly. Oregon’s modified comparative negligence law indicates that an individual can only recover compensation if the other party is determined to be at least 49% or more at-fault.

Can I receive compensation for a bicycle accident if I don’t have car insurance?

Yes. The person responsible for causing the accident while you were on your bicycle is responsible for compensating you for the damages you sustained.

How much does a bicycle accident attorney cost?

Bicycle accident victims have a right to safely ride their bike on the roadway. In the case of an accident, we believe victims have the right to talk to an attorney without worrying about money. At Ritchie Reiersen Law, we work on a contingency fee basis – you don’t pay unless we win for you. Our consultation is free and there are no up front fees for our services. Contact us today for a no-obligation consultation. Life after a bicycle accident can be hard – but you don’t have to face it alone.

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Figuring out the best course of action after a bicycle accident can be intimidating. Without taking the correct steps to protect your rights, you could miss out on a significant sum of money. Our attorneys will go the extra mile to secure the maximum compensation you deserve. To discuss the specifics of your case during a free consultation, get in touch with our office.

 

 

“I wish I would have had this book when I was hit 10 years ago. I made so many mistakes and ended up paying for it with long term injuries that weren’t covered, and the regret of looking back at the compensation I should have received for my car, my pain and my time.”
— Jordan from Yakima.

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