There are tremendous benefits to bicycling. It has a small carbon footprint, so it’s great for the environment. Cycling to work and other errands provides an excellent workout in the fresh air and sunshine. Riding your bike is also the most economical way to travel moderate distances in town, as it doesn’t require gas, car insurance, registration, oil changes, or other costly maintenance projects.
Despite the apparent benefits, however, there is one major drawback. A cyclist has very little protection against a car whose driver may ignore the bike lane. Bike vs. car accidents can cause serious injuries, some fatal.
Do you need a personal injury attorney after a bike accident? Don’t you make a claim with the driver’s insurance company? What are you risking if you decide to go it alone?
Who Is To Blame?
Our instinct is to assume the party with the most injuries was wronged. Sometimes, bike accidents are strictly the fault of the vehicle driver, but it is also common for bike accidents to include fault on both sides. If cyclists ride facing traffic, forget to make hand signals before turning in front of another vehicle, don’t have reflectors on the bike when traveling at night, or drive outside a provided bike lane, they may share the blame and be entitled to less help with their medical bills.
On the other hand, bicycle accidents may have more than one at-fault party. The driver of the car may be at fault, or the bike manufacturer could owe damages, if there was a mechanical failure. If the road isn’t maintained, lacks proper signage, or is unsafe for bicyclists, then the city could be liable.
Each case is decided individually, and an experienced bike accident lawyer can make sure that you get the maximum compensation based on the unique circumstances surrounding your accident. A lot of injured cyclists mistakenly think that just because they bear some fault for the accident, they aren’t eligible for compensation. Your attorney can draw a clear line between the fault on each side and ensure that the opposing party’s insurance company doesn’t try to get you to settle for less than you deserve.
Possible Costs Associated With An Accident
After an accident, the cyclist may be hyper-focused on the current health issues and anxious to accept a settlement check to pay immediate bills. That would be a mistake, as there are often unexpected costs after a severe injury, including:
- Lost wages due to doctor visits and injury recovery time
- Long-term injury or disablement expenses, adaptive equipment, and specialized nursing care
- Modifications to the home to accommodate a wheelchair, either temporarily or permanently, depending on the injury
- Physical therapy, massage, chiropractors, and other peripheral treatments
- Additional bills like bike repair or replacement, vehicle payments (if you can no longer bike and have to get a car), or public transportation
- Dental work if the accident resulted in facial trauma
Personal injury attorneys who have seen numerous similar injuries will have a better idea of what your future costs might entail.
Insurance Company Tactics
An insurance company is, first and foremost, a business. They want to be profitable, which means denying claims or paying as little on every claim as possible. Your personal injury lawyer will protect your rights, review any documents the insurance company gives you, and ensure they don’t cheat you out of the money you may need to handle future accident-related costs.
When Should You Hire An Attorney
The answer is immediately. Your attorney can guide you through the process and prevent you from making mistakes that could cost you a fair settlement. Here are some tips on your first steps after an accident.
- Don’t give recorded statements; the insurance company may take something you say out of context to reduce your settlement.
- Don’t sign any documentswithout talking to your attorney; you may inadvertently sign away some of your rights.
- If the other party’s insurance company contacts you, give them your attorney’s number.
- Take pictures ASAP of any injuries or damage to the car, bike, or property.
- Write down the order of events as soon as possible so you don’t have time to forget pertinent details.
- Seek medical treatment immediately. This will document your injuries and their cause. Otherwise, they can say the injuries came before the incident or after the fact.
- Follow all instructions the doctor gives you on your care. If you don’t, the other attorneys can argue you wouldn’t be in such bad shape had you listened. They can lessen the amount of your settlement, making future costs your responsibility.
Wrapping Things Up
In the unfortunate case of a bicycle accident, let an experienced Utah bike accident attorney protect your rights while you concentrate on recovering from your injuries. If they work on contingency fees, you won’t have to pay until you win your case, so there’s very little risk involved. On the other hand, the benefits can be very significant as your attorney helps you see through the tactics of Big Insurance and build an indisputable case for getting the benefits that you’re entitled to.