​What Are the Most Frequently Asked Questions About Bicycle Accidents?

Prospective clients come to us with many questions after they have suffered a personal injury. Here are some common inquiries we receive after people have suffered an injury in a bicycle accident. An experienced bicycle accident attorney can not only explain these points of information in more detail, but they can also answer any other questions about the bicycle accident legal process and the financial compensation you may deserve.

What should I do after a bicycle accident?

There are two areas in which you need to take prompt action after you have suffered an injury in a bicycle accident. The first thing you should do is tend to your health, which means seeing a doctor to get a diagnosis and start treatment for your injuries. Even if you received treatment at the scene of the accident, you should follow up with a physician. If they have made any recommendations, make sure to follow them exactly.

You will also need an experienced attorney to handle your legal case. In the days after an accident, the driver’s insurance company may attempt to contact you to pressure you or get you to give a statement. Either way, the insurance company is not your friend and is looking to contain their own damages. The sooner you hire an attorney, the higher your risk of making a mistake that can harm your legal case.

Should I speak to the insurance company after a bicycle accident?

​What Are the Most Frequently Asked Questions About Bicycle Accidents?You should not speak with the insurance company, and you should never do so on your own without an attorney. Nothing good comes from speaking with an insurance company because they are looking to get you on the record with a statement they can use against you in the future. A seemingly innocent-sounding question can elicit a response they can twist around to harm your case.

The insurance company may use several tricks to get you to talk to them, and you may be unaware of what they are doing until afterward. Hiring an experienced attorney can protect you from the games the insurance company likes to play. The insurance company will need to go through your attorney, and they cannot try to ambush you. If they do, the response to any communication should be to get in touch with your lawyer.

Contact a Bicycle Accident Attorney

What happens if my loved one dies in a bicycle accident?

Your family has the legal right to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible driver. In this case, the loss of your loved one is the personal injury that your family has suffered. A wrongful death case is similar to other personal injury lawsuits in that you must prove the defendant was negligent. The damages in your case are different.

Your family can recover:

  • The lost wages that your loved one should have earned had they lived and continued to work
  • Compensation to your family for the loss of the love and support that you received from your family member
  • Loss of consortium damages for this house
  • Payment for the injury of the grief that you suffered from the untimely death of a loved one

The family can also file a survival action to pay for the damages the deceased person suffered between the time of their injury and death.

Special rules govern a wrongful-death lawsuit, about which your attorney can advise you.

Should I accept the insurance company’s initial settlement offer?

Usually no. The settlement process is a negotiation between you and the insurance company. They will start low, expecting they will eventually raise their offer to the point where you will both agree on an amount. The initial settlement offer is usually for far less than you deserve. Often, the insurance company’s opening offer is just a fraction of the eventual settlement amount.

Once you have received the initial settlement offer, you should have your attorney review it to determine how far it is below the amount that you deserve. Chances are that your response will be to reject the settlement offer and counter with an amount of your own. The initial settlement offer is just the beginning of a negotiation process and is certainly not an end.

What if my bicycle itself was to blame for the accident?

In some rare cases, your accident may result from a defective bicycle, as opposed to what another driver did. You may have suffered a brake failure, or a tire may have blown, and it caused the accident. In that case, you can file a lawsuit against the company that either made or sold you the bicycle.

Three product defects can make you eligible for financial compensation:

  • Design defects – The design of the bicycle was unreasonably dangerous, and there was a safer alternative design
  • Manufacturing defects – There was nothing wrong with the design, but something went wrong in the manufacturing process that made the bicycle unreasonably dangerous
  • Marketing defects – The manufacturer did not provide adequate safety instructions or warnings of potential defects that they knew or should have known about

Product liability lawsuits are complex and require an experienced attorney who knows these cases.

Can I receive financial compensation if there was not an actual crash?

Yes. Negligence does not necessarily mean that another driver physically crashed with you. Doing something that forced you off your bicycle and caused you to crash on your own can also meet the legal definition of negligence. For example, suppose the driver stopped short in front of you or cut you off. In that case, it will be considered acting unreasonably under the circumstances and can entitle you to financial compensation.

Another example of something that is not a physical crash for which you can receive compensation is when a driver opens their car door into your path while riding in a bike lane.

Finding the responsible driver without a physical crash might be more difficult. They may not have stopped at the scene of the accident like they might have if they actually hit you. In this case, you will need a lawyer to investigate and help track down the responsible driver.

How can I use the police report from the bicycle accident?

Chances are that a police officer showed up at the scene of the accident and wrote a report. This report can either contain their own first-hand observations or what they heard from other people. You can use the police report to help you when you file a claim against the responsible driver’s insurance policy. The standard rules about hearsay will not apply when you have filed an insurance claim. The police officer’s conclusions can help persuade an insurance company of the driver’s liability.

However, you cannot use a police report to prove the other driver’s liability at trial. First, many police departments specifically do not allow their reports to be evidence at trial. Second, the report itself cannot be evidence because it will be hearsay. You can only admit the officer’s impressions if you can directly question them at trial. The police officer did not see what happened, but they only showed up at the scene afterward.

What if I was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident?

The insurance company will certainly look to blame your injuries on the fact that you may not have been wearing a helmet. However, the driver still cannot completely escape accountability for their own actions. You can probably still receive a substantial amount in a settlement check. Your attorney will need to defend your own actions and argue why you should still get a settlement for what happened. Insurance companies like to make claims about you to reduce your payment.

While bicycle helmets are often necessary by law and reduce the severity of injuries, not wearing one should not be a bar to financial recovery. People can certainly still suffer head trauma and brain injuries while wearing a proper helmet. Further, you might have suffered many other serious injuries that a helmet will not protect from.

If your accident happened when you were not wearing a helmet, you need to immediately seek legal help. You can still recover for your losses, but it might require extra legal maneuvering to do so.

What if the insurance company denies my claim?

The insurance company claim is not the final step in your compensation process. The insurance company is representative of the driver who has injured you. They may be the first place where you may go for compensation, but they may not be the last place. If the insurance company denies your claim, you can file a lawsuit against the driver in court.

In the end, your legal rights come from a jury and not from another driver’s insurance policy. It is the jury who will ultimately decide whether the driver was negligent in your accident. In most cases, the insurance company has a good idea of whether your case has merit, and they will offer you a settlement. They are a rational business, and they want to control their own legal risk.

What happens if the driver who hit me did not have insurance or they did not stop?

You are not out of luck when getting a settlement check. If you have auto insurance, it will cover uninsured bicycle accidents or those where the driver does not have enough insurance to pay for your injuries.

The hope is that you have uninsured driver coverage as part of your insurance policy. If you do, you can recover when you have suffered an injury by an uninsured driver or in a hit-and-run. Still, you will need to deal with an insurance company. That you are a policyholder does not get you any favorable treatment from “your” insurance company. They still view you the same as they might any other claimant, meaning they are trying to cut their own tab at your expense. You will still need an attorney to represent you when dealing with your insurance company to maximize your potential settlement.

What happens if a pothole caused my bicycle accident injuries?

The local government has a legal obligation to maintain the road in reasonable condition. While they are not liable for every single nick and imperfection on a road, you may hold them legally responsible for a road in poor condition.

The government can face a lawsuit the same as any other defendant in certain situations. You can hold them responsible when they are negligent in performing their duties. Special rules apply to suing the government that will require you to act quicker than you otherwise need to in a civil case. Dealing with the government is not necessarily any easier than dealing with any insurance company. Therefore, you will need an experienced attorney to file a claim against the government.

How much will I need to pay for a bike accident attorney?

Alex-BoohoffYou should not let money get in the way of the legal help that you need in your case. You do not need to come up with a large amount of money to hire a bicycle accident lawyer. In fact, you do not need to come up with any money at all.

A bicycle accident attorney works for you on a contingency basis. You do not need to pay any money unless you win your case. You will not receive any hourly bills while your case is pending. The only way you will pay an attorney is from the proceeds of your settlement once you receive it. Therefore, you do not have any risk when you hire a bicycle accident attorney for your case. The only risk is when you try to handle your case on your own.

Give your claim the best chance of success by seeking legal help immediately. If you have the right personal injury attorney, you can tend to your injuries and trust your claim is in good hands.

October 10, 2022
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