Bicycle Accident Lawyers
At LifeLaw, our love of cycling runs deep. Many of us here at the firm love seeing this beautiful world by bike, including our Founder and Managing Attorney, David A. Francis. Not only is he a highly respected bike accident attorney, he also spent three years as a member of the US Cycling Team. He lived in France, Mexico and raced internationally. Some of his teammates included Lance Armstrong, George Hincapie, and Jonathan Vaughters.
But while we’ve experienced the wonder of cycling, we’ve also seen its dangers.
Bicycle Vs. Car
A midsize car weighs over 3,000 pounds, and many motorists fail to look for cyclists. If you take a 3,000 pound car at 45 mph hitting a bicyclist, the impact is equivalent to 6,750 pounds of pressure against flesh and bone rather than a steel cage.
The tragic truth is approximately a thousand cyclists die every year in the United States due to bike vs. auto accidents. Many more are injured, and the injuries are often severe.
Even more disturbing, the motorist’s insurance company will try to wiggle out of paying your medical bills. The insurance company is a business, which means they’re trying to make a profit. That means they will pay the least amount possible in claims despite the expenses a cyclist faces because of the accident.
Some of the most common injuries we see in vehicle vs. bicycle accidents are:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI): Our brains keep our organs functioning properly, hold our memories, allow us to experience sensations, and contain all of the skills we’ve learned since infancy. Depending on the location of the brain damage, you could lose your ability to talk, walk, see, reason, remember your family, or even remember yourself.
- Spinal Injuries: Spinal injuries can affect any body system below the injury. These injuries can lead to many problems, including pain, pressure, weakness, loss of balance, paralysis, or loss of control over other bodily functions.
- Skeletal Injuries: Broken bones in the extremities, hips, shoulders, or ribs are painful and could prove life threatening if the break is traumatic enough to cause shock, severs a nearby artery, or punctures an internal organ.
- Internal Organ Injuries: Your brain, heart, and lungs are protected by bone, but broken bones endanger these vital organs. Other organs without protection are more susceptible to damage. Even if the accident doesn’t break the skin, the force of impact can cause internal hemorrhage and even loss of the damaged organ. While the body can function without some organs, such as the gallbladder or one of the kidneys, the loss of others causes lasting dependence on technology, like dialysis machines, while you wait on a donor list.
- Soft Tissue Injuries: Hyperextension of limbs can bruise or tear tendons and ligaments and require surgery. Road rash can be a deep and painful wound, even needing skin grafts if the damage goes deep enough.
When Should You Contact A Bicycle Accident Lawyer?
The simple answer is now. If you’ve been in an accident there are three things that will likely happen right off.
- The vehicle driver’s insurance company will look for any possible reason why you are responsible for their driver hitting you. If you obeyed traffic laws, logically, this shouldn’t be a problem. Sadly, they move on to step two.
- The insurance company will call you and record your conversation. They are looking for anything you might say that would negate the claim or lessen your payout. They’re recording you during one of the most stressful moments of your life and looking for a weakness. If that doesn’t work, they move on to step 3.
- The insurance company will offer you a quick settlement. Insurance companies know that these types of injuries can linger for weeks, months, even years. As the first of your medical bills roll in, they offer you a lowball settlement offer that may seem like a lot in a single check but could quickly disappear with medical bills, ambulance rides, medications, medical equipment, hospital stays, surgeries, therapy, and possibly long-term care. Worse, if a loved one was killed in the accident, they might try to lowball the value of their life.
Our experienced Utah-based bike accident attorneys are experts in their field and will walk you through the process, protecting your rights. Every client gets VIP treatment.
- Our services start with a free consultation to direct you to the right path for the type of settlement you need to protect your financial future.
- Immediately after you retain our services, all insurance company communication will go through our office first. We review every document so you don’t inadvertently sign away your rights or get pressured into an early settlement.
- We do all the legal leg-work, gathering the proper documentation needed to present your case in negotiations with the insurance company. If they refuse to give you what you need and are justly entitled to in order to pay your medical bills, that documentation will be ready to present in court.
- We stay on top of the schedule so we meet every deadline. This means we submit paperwork in good order and make sure you know where you need to be for any meetings or court appearances.
- We make sure you never meet with opposing counsel or an adjuster without one of our bicycle accident lawyers being present.This ensures that the insurance company can’t twist your words or take them out of context. We know every trick of Big Insurance. We’ll stand up to them and advocate for you.
With other law offices available, why would you choose the Salt Lake City bike accident attorneys at LifeLaw? Our firm provides many services you won’t find in other offices.
- Committed to Listening to Your Story: One of the most common reviews we receive is that we take the time to listen to our clients. You aren’t just a number or an inconvenience. While listening is a common courtesy, which is reason enough, there is so much more to listening than that.
- We need to understand your situation in order to be effective. Our job as your bicycle accident lawyer is to help you reclaim your quality of life and protect your financial future from bills incurred by the accident. We need to understand:
- How are your injuries changing your daily activities?
- Are you missing important events?
- Can you work the same job you did before the accident?
- Can you work the same hours?
- Do you have to take time off to go to doctor’s or therapy appointments?
- Do you need a babysitter?
- Does your spouse need to take time off because your ability to drive is hampered by your injury?
- Do you need in-home care?
- Are you getting the medical treatment you need to recover as well as possible from your injuries?
- In cases where a loved one was lost in a bicycle accident, we need to know:
- Are you able to arrange the proper funeral for your loved one?
- Are there kids you’re trying to raise on your own and put through college?
- Do you need counseling for you or your children to deal with the trauma?
- How does the loss change your finances?
- The bottom line: We listen because you hired us to protect you, your family, your life and what your future should be. We need to understand all the variables to serve you honorably. We will hear you out without rushing you along and make sure we understand exactly what you have been through and hope to get out of the case.
- Experienced with Utah’s Traffic and Personal Injury Laws: Our bicycle accident lawyers live here in Utah and have nearly a century’s worth of experience between them. We’re familiar with the terrain, weather, and other factors that may affect your case. You are our neighbors, and we will serve you with a passion for justice and decency. Your injuries are not your fault. You shouldn’t have to pay for someone else’s mistake for the rest of your life.
- Resolved: We take every case seriously and commit ourselves to seeing it through to the end. We won’t lose momentum half-way through the case or back down from Big Insurance. Insurance companies can be tough, but we’re tougher. You get our best effort every time.
- Accessible: While we want to give you freedom to live your life during this difficult process, we want to make sure you’re kept in the loop. If you have questions or concerns, or you just want to give us an update on your condition or that of your loved one, we are happy to meet with you in our office, over the phone, and by email.
- Client-focused: Our phenomenal staff is compassionate, efficient, and knowledgeable. They are here to help lift your burden and help you on the road to physical and financial healing.
- Respectful of your Time and Needs: Not all of our clients have the freedom to drop everything to run to our office. If you’re injured and unable to travel, we will meet you at the hospital. We also limit the number of face-to-face meetings where possible so you don’t unnecessarily take time off work or away from your loved one in the hospital. Your time is precious. We’ll worry about the details and call you when you’re needed to appear or to sign paperwork.
Cycle with Safety
In spite of the risks of cycling, there’s nothing quite like it for enjoyment and exercise. When you choose to cycle, you choose these advantages:
- Environmentally Friendly: It takes less time and materials to manufacture a bike. After manufacturing, there’s practically no carbon footprint. Without an engine, you don’t need gas, oil, radiator fluid, brake fluid, transmission fluid, replacement filters, hoses, electrical systems, or computerized gadgets and gizmos. Replacement tires or chains are a fraction of the cost and use far fewer raw materials than a tuneup and tire replacements on a car.
- Cost Effective: A bike’s price ranges from $50-$20,000 depending on what you need the bike to accomplish. If you plan on racing professionally, $20,000 is worth it for a bike that will give you an edge over the competition. For the average person, $100-$700 will get you a decent bike for commuting, exercising, and enjoying the fresh air.
If you compare that to a car, a sub compact starts at $16,000 while a race car can go for $200,000-$600,000. Even if you factor in enough bikes to replace a family car seating four to six people, you see a huge savings. Add the savings from gas, car insurance, registration, tune ups, oil changes, car washes, and maintenance repairs, not to mention wear and tear on public roads that are repaired with tax dollars. Bicycles win the cost comparison hands down.
- Good for the Body and Soul. With Western society’s rising obesity rates, taking a more physically taxing ride to work could counteract the long hours we sit at a desk or stand at a counter each day. It can also lower the danger of heart disease, improve mental clarity, rejuvenate the immune system, and boost your mood between the exercise-induced feel-good hormones and vitamin-D producing sunshine.
Keep the rules of the road, wear the right helmet, keep your bike in safe condition, and stay vigilant. If motorists and cyclists do their part, we can dramatically reduce the number of cycling accidents in Utah. If you do end up as a victim of a bicycling accident, our Salt Lake City attorneys stand ready to help you navigate your personal injury lawsuit so you can move forward positively.
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Frequently Asked Questions
1. What should I do immediately after a bicycle accident?
Most bike accidents involve injury to the rider. This is because riders are not protected by a car exterior and are more exposed when a crash occurs.
Most accidents involve a rider being thrown from their bike or impacted by a vehicle. It is a good idea to call the police immediately so that the accident can be documented and the proper information can be exchanged by both parties.
This will allow the rider to identify any insurance policies that may be available to pay for medical expenses, pain and suffering, future medical costs and repair or replacement of your bicycle.
Once this information is obtained any cyclist involved in a crash should consider seeking the assistance of a personal injury attorney who understands the injuries involved in a bicycle accident and can help you navigate the legal process.
2. Steps to take when filing a bicycle accident insurance claim?
A bicycle accident insurance claim can be created by contacting the responsible party’s insurance carrier directly. A better option is to retain the services of a personal injury attorney who understands the injuries associated with a bicycle accident and can help you navigate through the legal process. This will allow the injured cyclist to focus on recovering from their injuries, and allow a law firm to manage the details of obtaining a settlement.
3. Common injuries from a bicycle accident and their symptoms?
Most bicycle accidents involve a cyclist being thrown over their handlebars or off the side of their bicycle impacting the ground. The mechanics of a bicycle accident typically result in an impact to the head, a broken collarbone, and several cuts and abrasions.
It is a normal reaction for a cyclist to put their arms out to brace for the impact with the ground. Unfortunately, this often results in a broken collarbone. Other injuries include a fractured pelvis, a fractured femur, and broken ribs, depending on whether or not the rider is impacted by a vehicle.
4. What evidence should I gather at the scene of a bicycle accident?
Most cyclists carry a cellphone while riding. Using your phone to take photos and video of the accident scene, and conversations with the individual who caused the accident, is the best way to gather evidence. Calling the police to the accident scene is another good way to ensure that important evidence is gathered. The police will conduct an investigation and interview each party involved, including anyone who witnessed the accident.
Contact information and insurance information will be exchanged as part of the police process. It is also important for the victim of a bicycle accident to retain legal help to assist in gathering the necessary evidence to achieve a settlement.
5. Should I contact a lawyer for a bicycle accident?
Yes. A lawyer who has experience in representing the victims of a bicycle accident can go a long way towards easing the legal process and achieving the best settlement possible. Insurance companies have an incentive to deny or minimize an injury claim from a bicycle accident.
A lawyer can ensure that the insurance company does not deny or minimize the injuries that you have received from the bicycle accident. A lawyer will also help you make sure all of your medical bills are paid, your bicycle is repaired or replaced, and you receive a settlement that is proportionate to the injuries you received.
6. How do I deal with the emotional aftermath of a serious bicycle crash?
Any kind of accident that results in an injury can be a very traumatic experience. Bicycle accidents can be even more traumatic because the cyclist is not protected like an individual inside of a car and is completely exposed. Many cyclists experience post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety when trying to get back on their bicycles again.
Speaking to a therapist can help give you the tools to overcome the emotional aftermath associated with a bicycle accident. An attorney can help connect you with a therapist and make sure that the cost associated with that treatment is paid for by your legal settlement.
Having legal representation can also help with the emotions surrounding your accident by letting the law firm deal with the day to day issues of your case, rather than you having to worry about them.
7. How can I recover physically and emotionally from a serious bicycle crash?
When cyclists ride their bicycles they are very exposed and unprotected when compared to a driver in a vehicle. As a result, most bicycle accidents involve physical injuries to the cyclist. Because of the traumatic nature of bicycle accidents they can also be very emotionally taxing, leading to post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and even depression.
An attorney can help a bicycle crash victim recover from their injuries by guiding them through the medical treatment process. This would include treatment from a certified therapist who can help the bicycle crash victim work through the emotional trauma associated with this type of accident.
8. What are my rights as a cyclist involved in a car - bike collision?
Most bicycle accidents that involve a vehicle are caused by driver inattention and not seeing a cyclist on the road. If the vehicle is at fault for causing the accident then the cyclist has the right to seek compensation from the insurance company of the vehicle driver.
Under most state laws bicycle accident victims have the right to recover for damages which include: past medical treatment, future medical treatment, past pain and suffering and future pain and suffering.
The bicycle accident victim also has the right to recover lost wages, and future wages if their injuries result in a permanent injury that would reduce the victim’s ability to earn an income. This kind of damage is called lost earning capacity.
9. How can I prevent future bicycle accidents and stay safe on the road?
Most bicycle accidents involving an automobile occur because the driver is distracted or not paying attention. In order to reduce a cyclist’s chances of being hit by a distracted driver it is important for the cyclist to take reasonable steps to appear LOUD on the road, or in other words, to be SEEN.
A cyclist can be loud and better seen by drivers by riding with a flashing light at the rear of their bicycle and potentially a flashing light on the front of their bicycle as well. Wearing bright clothing and reflective strips can also help a cyclist be seen by drivers who are sharing the road.