As gas prices continue to soar, many people are changing how they travel across the city. More and more bicyclists are sharing the road with cars, trucks, motorcycles, and pedestrians. Motorists must make sure that they watch for bicyclists. If motorists are negligent and do not look out for bicycles while using the road, then major accidents can happen.
Did a bicycle accident injure you or a loved one? In that case, you need a bicycle accident attorney to help you get the money you need to recover from your injuries and recoup your property damages. Contact a bicycle accident attorney in your area to pursue your bicycle accident claim today.
To learn more about how most bicycle accidents happen, continue reading.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
Negligent motorists typically cause bicycle accidents. Bicyclists are more likely to get into an accident with motorists. Bicyclists face the risk of an accident each time that they use the road. Some of the following are the most common cause of bicycle accidents.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol is the number one cause of traffic accidents. Substances decrease a driver’s ability to react to dangers.
If a driver disobeys the posted speed limit, then they are negligent. Drivers that travel faster than the posted speed limit risk losing control of their vehicles and being unable to stop to avoid an accident with a bicycle.
Driver fatigue happens when a driver operates a vehicle without adequate rest. If drivers drive without proper rest, they are at risk of an accident. Sleepy drivers have lower reaction times and may experience microsleeps. Even closing your eyes for a moment can lead to an accident.
Driving Too Close to the Shoulder of the Road
If a motorist is too close to the shoulder, they are more likely to hit a bicyclist in that area. Drivers may clip a bicyclist if they are speeding while driving too close to the shoulder. Even if there is a bicycle lane on the road, bicyclists are still in danger of getting hit by a motor vehicle.
Making a Turn Without Looking
It can be easy for a motorist to overlook a bicyclist, especially on a busy street. It is not uncommon for a motorist to take a turn too fast or without taking the time to watch for bicyclists. If that happens, the bicyclist is at risk for significant injury after being hit by a car.
Not Leaving Enough Room for Bicycles
Motorists must remember that they share the road with bicyclists. Sharing the road means motorists must leave enough room for others to travel safely. Taking over the road and not leaving enough room for bicyclists may lead to an accident.
Weaving In and out of Traffic
It is dangerous for motorists to weave through traffic. Erratic lane changes lead to tragic injuries. Bicyclists are particularly at risk for injury because they do not have a covering around them like cars, trucks, and other motor vehicles.
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What Are Typical Injuries In Bicycle Accidents?
Every bicycle accident is unique, and injuries can range from minor and temporary to severe and permanent. If you or a loved one suffered an injury in a bicycle accident, call a bicycle accident attorney in your area to learn how to receive the compensation that you deserve.
Examples of injuries and damages that can result from a bicycle accident include:
- Loss of income and loss of earning capacity
- Medical bills (current and future medical costs)
- Rehabilitative costs
- Physical therapy
- Physical pain
- Prescription medication costs
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional and mental distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Of course, this list is not exhaustive. Contact a bicycle accident attorney in your area if you have suffered an injury in a bicycle accident.
How are Bicycle Accident Claims Calculated?
Damages in bicycle accidents can be tangible or intangible. No matter the type of damages that result from a bicycle accident, you are entitled to receive compensation for your harm. Any loss you suffered after being in a bicycle accident should factor into a calculation of a final settlement amount.
Economic damages are tangible. These types of damages are easily calculable and are usually easy to identify.
Examples of economic damages include:
- The cost of current and future medical care
- Loss of current and future income
- Loss of earning capacity
- Property damage
To prove your economic damages, you should keep records of what you have paid since getting into the accident. It is helpful for bicycle accident victims to keep track of their medical bills, property repair estimates, and how much work they have missed since the accident.
Non-economic damages are intangible.
Examples of non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering.
- Mental and emotional trauma.
- Other damages that cannot be seen but resulted from the bicycle accident.
These kinds of damages are difficult to prove. You need an attorney working on your behalf to help you get the damages that you need to fully recover after a bicycle accident.
Punitive damages are a rare category of damages available when the defendant’s conduct was wildly outrageous. Punitive damages are awarded by a court to deter bad conduct. Some states limit the amount of money an injured person can recover in punitive damages. If a punitive damage award is available in your area, then an experienced bicycle accident attorney can help you get the money you deserve in an accident.
What Factors Increase the Value of a Bicycle Accident Claim?
There are several factors that can potentially increase the value of your car accident settlement. Some factors that increase the value of your bicycle accident include:
The Severity of Your Injuries
If your injuries are severe, it is likely that you will have more medical bills. The higher your medical bills, the more the value of your settlement increases.
Injuries that can occur in a bicycle accident include:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Sprains and strains
- Loss of function/ decreased range of motion
- Chronic pain
- Head injuries/concussions/ and traumatic brain injuries
- Loss of consortium/loss of companionship
- Mental and emotional trauma
- Wrongful Death
The Need for Ongoing Medical Care
You are entitled to recoup for all of your injuries, including any medical care that you need to treat your injuries after the accident. Some injuries require long-term care, including a stay in a rehabilitation center or physical therapy. It is important that you hire a bicycle accident attorney to negotiate a settlement on your behalf that anticipates all your needs, including ongoing medical care.
In addition to compensation for your physical injuries, you deserve to receive compensation for your property damage. You should keep copies of estimates and records of what you paid to prove your damages. If you suffered property damage in a bicycle accident, call an experienced bicycle attorney in your area to start pursuing compensation for your damages.
If the accident caused you to lose time at work and therefore lose money, you are entitled to recover your lost income. You can recover for current and future lost income as well as lost earning capacity. Lost earning capacity is the damages you are entitled to receive if you can still work after the accident but you cannot return to the same industry that you worked in before the accident. For example, if you were a firefighter before the accident, but you can only work a sedentary job now, you can seek compensation if there is a difference in your salary.
Loss of Enjoyment of Life
Loss of enjoyment of life is a type of damage that allows an accident victim to recover for a decreased joy or interest in past activities. These kinds of damages are hard to prove. Contact an experienced bicycle attorney in your area to learn more about how you can get money to recover from this kind of harm.
The Attorney You Choose to Hire
The attorney that you hire to represent your interests is important. You need an accident attorney with experience handling cases like yours. You want to create a legal team that has a successful track record of getting compensation for clients that have suffered injuries like yours.
Research different firms and ask about their success records. Contact local bicycle accident attorneys in your area to start protecting your legal interests and get started on recovering financially for your bicycle accident injuries and damages.
Ways a Bicycle Accident Lawyer Can Help Your Claim
Take advantage of the experience of a seasoned bicycle accident attorney after getting hurt in a bicycle accident. Unrepresented accident victims typically have a hard time as they try to get the compensation that they need to recover after an accident.
A bicycle accident attorney in your area can make it easier to receive the money that you deserve by:
- Negotiating on your behalf with the insurance company
- Helping you get access to medical care
- Complying with all applicable procedural rules so that you can focus solely on recovery
- Fielding calls from debt collectors
- Representing you at trial
Can I Afford to Hire an Attorney?
If you cannot afford an attorney, it is not the end of your case. You can work with a local attorney and discuss using a contingency fee payment arrangement. A contingency fee payment arrangement is an agreement between a client and an attorney. Your attorney agrees to provide legal services in your case and to defer payment until after the case resolves.
You may have heard a variation: “We don’t get paid unless you do.” It refers to a contingency fee agreement. Accident victims can pursue justice without worrying about hefty legal fees upfront with contingent fee agreements.
A contingency fee agreement must be reduced to writing and signed by both the client and the attorney under the ethical rules that govern attorneys in the United States. Payment of litigation costs and a percentage of the final settlement are standard terms in contingency fee contracts.
A lawsuit’s litigation costs are expenses incurred during the litigation process. Litigation costs include filing, copying, postage, and expert witness fees. It is not uncommon for an attorney’s firm to pay these costs in advance and then receive reimbursement from the client at the end of the case. The client is free to pay these costs as long as the litigation continues.
Your agreement can include more terms. You must understand the terms of the agreement before signing it. Keep a copy of the agreement for your records.
When Do I Need to Call a Lawyer?
When dealing with severe injuries, your focus will be on medical appointments, following doctor’s orders, and adjusting to life with any new disabilities. The last thing you might want to do is find a lawyer to handle your case.
However, as the bills pile up and you lose income, you might begin wondering about possible compensation. Never wait to consult with an accident attorney about your legal options.
The longer you wait, the more you might jeopardize your case. Evidence can disappear or weaken, and the law sets out deadlines in case you need to file a lawsuit. As soon as your health is stable, start addressing the legal side of your recovery.
Contact a Bicycle Accident Attorney Today
The best way to increase the value of your bicycle accident claim is to hire a car accident lawyer. It is your attorney’s responsibility to protect your rights to compensation. To ensure you receive the maximum benefits, they will fight for you.
Never try to face off against insurance companies and insurance defense lawyers without the proper legal representation in your corner. Contact a local personal injury attorney immediately if you or a loved one suffered an injury in a bicycle accident.