In all states, injured parties have the right to seek compensation when their injuries arise from negligence, carelessness, or the intentional acts of others. This covers bicycle accidents. If you or someone you love suffered injuries in a bicycle accident, you may seek compensation for your damages.
However, keep in mind that just because you have the right to seek compensation doesn’t mean that you will receive it. Obtaining injury compensation starts with hiring a skilled Denver bicycle accident attorney with the skills and knowledge to stand up for your rights, even to large corporations and insurance companies.
When you hire the right attorney, you strengthen your chances of receiving full and fair compensation for your injuries.
Determining the Viability of Your Bicycle Accident Claim
After a recent bicycle accident, you might consider an injury claim.
Most injury claims hinge on the principle of negligence. Negligence means failing to act in a manner that a reasonably prudent person should under similar circumstances.
For a bicycle injury claim to hold validity, it must include four key elements of negligence:
- Duty: One or more parties involved in the accident had a duty to conduct themselves in a manner that ensures your safety. This can include actions like refraining from weaving between traffic lanes.
- Breach of Duty: The party failed to uphold this duty somehow, constituting a breach.
- Injuries: The breach of duty directly led to your sustained injuries.
- Damages: As a consequence of your injuries, you incurred compensable damages. These can include various aspects, including medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, scarring, disfigurement, and more.
When you consult a seasoned bicycle accident attorney, they will diligently assess your claim to ensure you can prove these four elements of negligence. If so, you indeed possess a valid claim that warrants pursuit, allowing you to seek rightful compensation for your injuries and associated damages.
Negligence in Bicycle Accidents
Negligence in bicycle accidents extends beyond the immediate collision. It also involves a broader spectrum of behaviors that can lead to accidents, such as reckless driving, failure to yield, distracted driving, or inadequate road maintenance.
Understanding the complexities of negligence in your specific case is paramount in building a strong claim.
Document every aspect of the accident, from gathering witness statements to preserving physical evidence. These steps can significantly bolster your case and provide crucial support in establishing negligence.
In pursuing your claim, your bicycle accident attorney will work diligently to gather all pertinent evidence, consult with experts if necessary, and navigate the legal complexities to help you secure the compensation you rightfully deserve.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
Bicycle accidents can result from many contributing factors. The unique size of bicycles compared to motorized vehicles can make them less visible on the road.
The following are some examples of driver negligence that might lead to a bike crash:
- Distracted driving: This is one of the primary causes across various types of motor vehicle collisions, including those involving bicycles. When drivers divert their attention to activities like texting, phone calls, social media, passengers, personal grooming habits, pets, or eating, the likelihood of causing an accident significantly increases.
- Impaired driving: Whether influenced by drugs or alcohol, impaired drivers experience diminished judgment, delayed reaction times, and compromised visual perception. Consequently, they are less likely to detect bicyclists and respond in a timely and effective manner to prevent a collision.
- Drowsy driving: Individuals on the road during early or late hours, especially after a shift, face an elevated risk of causing severe accidents. Recent studies indicate that drowsy driving can be as dangerous as driving under the influence.
- Failure to maintain a safe distance: Drivers who closely tail bicyclists and pass them within a three-foot range create unnecessary hazards. This behavior not only heightens the chances of a collision but also limits the options available to both drivers and bicyclists to avert an accident.
- Failure to yield: Certain traffic scenarios, such as roundabouts and merging lanes, necessitate that drivers yield to oncoming traffic, which includes bicycles. Neglecting or blatantly disregarding this obligation substantially elevates the risk of an accident.
- Disobeying stop signs or traffic signals: Disregarding stop signs and red lights is a prevalent cause of intersection accidents in various settings. This behavior poses a considerable risk, especially when drivers fail to look out for bicyclists with the legal right of way.
- Negligent turning: Drivers may have the right of way to make a turn at an intersection, but they must still exercise caution for bicyclists and pedestrians. Neglecting to do so is a common yet entirely avoidable factor contributing to bicycle accidents at intersections.
- Traffic weaving: Engaging in erratic lane changes and maneuvers amidst traffic makes drivers less likely to spot bicyclists sharing the road. Such drivers are also less prepared to react promptly and effectively to prevent accidents, often encroaching onto bike lanes and shoulders.
- Unsafe lane changes: Even a single reckless lane change can result in a severe collision. Bicycle accidents involving unsafe lane changes typically occur when drivers merge into the path of cyclists without clearing the lane.
Advantages of Having Bicycle Accident Attorney on Your Side
Navigating the path to recovery from a severe personal injury like those arising from a bicycle accident requires legal representation.
A bicycle accident is legally classified as a vehicle accident, entitling the injured cyclist to file a claim against the responsible driver’s insurance policy for compensation.
While auto insurance might cover the costs of minor accidents, incidents involving a collision with a bicyclist often result in significant financial strain for the victim. You might need to seek compensation from multiple avenues to obtain the full amount you need.
Retaining the services of an experienced bicycle accident attorney greatly enhances your likelihood of achieving success in your recovery efforts following such an incident.
When auto insurance serves as an initial source of compensation for your injuries, your attorney can expedite the claims process and recover a fair settlement. In cases where the at-fault driver’s insurance falls short of covering the victim’s losses, or if the claim exhausts it, an attorney can pursue a personal injury case directly against the responsible driver.
A bicycle accident attorney significantly improves your prospects of optimizing your final compensation. A lawyer allows you to gain access to comprehensive legal guidance and swift responses to all your legal inquiries throughout every stage of your recovery journey.
Overview of Damages in Bicycle Accident Claims
After a bicycle accident, individuals with injuries may find themselves grappling with an array of damages for which they can hold the responsible party or their insurance provider liable.
These damages can include substantial medical expenses and income losses due to an inability to work, along with the enduring pain and physical constraints stemming from their injuries.
Certain damages pertain to concrete financial losses or responsibilities, while others encapsulate more intangible losses.
Financial or economic damages suffered by a bicycle accident victim may include:
- Past and future medical expenses: Including all costs associated with medical treatment, examinations, therapy, and any ongoing healthcare needs
- Past and future lost wages: Addressing income a victim lost if they were out of work or potential future lost earnings due to the injuries
- Travel expenses for medical appointments or treatment: Covering any expenses incurred for transportation to and from medical facilities or appointments related to the accident.
- Damaged property: Compensating the costs of repairing or replacing damaged personal property, such as the bicycle involved in the accident or personal electronics
Additionally, there often exist intangible, non-economic losses, which may include:
- Pain and suffering: Reflecting the physical and emotional distress experienced as a result of the accident and subsequent injuries.
- Loss of enjoyment of life: Addressing the diminished ability to partake in activities and pursuits that once brought fulfillment and satisfaction
- Loss of consortium: Recognizing the impact of the injuries on relationships and the deprivation of companionship and support
- Mental anguish: Pertaining to the emotional suffering, trauma, or psychological distress endured following the accident
- Scarring and disfigurement: Accounting for any visible and permanent alterations to physical appearance resulting from the injuries.
There may be additional damages unique to each individual case. By enlisting the services of a bicycle accident lawyer, you can receive invaluable assistance in identifying and pursuing compensation for all applicable damages.
These legal professionals possess the proficiency to comprehensively evaluate your situation and advocate on your behalf to secure the rightful compensation you deserve.
Do Bicycle Accident Cases Typically Resolve Outside of Court?
In most bicyclist accident cases, the parties involved opt for a financial settlement to cover the claimant’s damages, thereby avoiding the need for further legal proceedings. Negotiating a settlement demands skills and patience. This is why many injured individuals and their families hire a bicycle accident lawyer.
Litigation can take a long time. It can also stress the at-fault party, their insurance providers, and legal representation. For these reasons, in most cases, both parties find it more advantageous to negotiate a settlement before resorting to a court battle.
A settlement denotes an agreed-upon sum of money that the at-fault party, typically facilitated through their insurance company, will offer the injured party to withdraw their claim and refrain from pursuing it in court. Occasionally, the specific settlement amount may remain confidential.
In exchange for the settlement, the injured party commits to permanently dismissing their claim against the at-fault party. While injured parties are not obligated to accept a settlement, seeking counsel from their bicycle accident lawyer is crucial for determining the most prudent course of action.
Opting to settle rather than pursue a case in court may provide several potential advantages that warrant consideration.
Firstly, some victims of bike injuries may prefer to avoid testifying in court or undergoing further legal strife, prompting them to choose a settlement.
Additionally, insurance companies often seek to avert the risk of defending their insured against sympathetic juries. Settlements expedite the process for both sides, providing the bicyclist with financial relief sooner rather than later.
Steps to Take Following a Bicycle Accident Injury
The actions you take following a bicycle accident can significantly impact the outcome of your claim. Here are crucial steps to consider:
Seek Immediate Medical Attention
Have any injuries assessed and documented promptly by medical professionals, even if they initially appear minor.
Additionally, adhering to prescribed treatment plans and restrictions is crucial for both your health and the strength of your legal claim. If you take your injuries and treatment seriously, there is a greater chance the insurance company will, too.
Consult a Knowledgeable Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Those involved in bicycle accidents should reach out to a bicycle accident lawyer promptly.
Even if you’re unsure about the viability of a personal injury claim, consulting with a Denver personal injury lawyer is essential. Failing to do so may result in missed opportunities for rightful compensation to cover expenses.
By taking these steps, you not only prioritize your health and well-being but also safeguard your legal rights and potential for fair compensation after suffering injuries in a bicycle accident.