The last thing you expect when you are being environmentally friendly and healthy by choosing to ride a bicycle is to be in an accident with a motor vehicle and suffer injuries. While there are bike lanes in many cities across the country, and you might use these lanes and follow the traffic rules like clockwork, there are still many bicycle accidents each year.
In a recent year, 846 bicyclists died in crashes in the United States. Whether you suffered injuries or lost a close family member in a bicycle accident, you might have the right to seek compensation for your losses, and a local bicycle accident attorney can help. You want to stand up for your rights, and having the right legal representation following a road bicycle accident is critical.
Cities install bicycle lanes for safety and encourage drivers to be conscious of everyone else using the road – whether they are other drivers, motorcyclists, pedestrians, or road cyclists. Unfortunately, drivers can make mistakes that cause them to hit a cyclist who is simply trying to share the road.
When you are riding your bicycle on the road, you do not have a metal chassis to protect you in the event of a collision like occupants of motor vehicles have. Given the significant difference in the size and weight of motor vehicles versus bicycles, motor vehicle drivers have the added responsibility of driving safely to avoid harming those with less protection on the road.
One of the leading causes of bike accidents on the road today is distracted driving, which is when a driver does any activity that takes their full attention off the road, like using a smartphone or talking to a passenger. In one year alone, about 2,800 people died and 400,000 suffered injuries in crashes due to distracted driving. Many of these fatalities and injuries involved road cyclists.
When you sustain injuries because a driver violated the rules of the road, they are at fault and responsible for the damages resulting from your injuries. You will not receive compensation automatically, however, and need to take proactive steps to seek financial recovery. Your bicycle accident attorney can help you through this process.
The purpose of hiring a personal injury attorney with experience working on bicycle accident cases is to have an advocate whose primary concern is helping you maximize your financial recovery. The insurance company does not work for you – it is in business for profits. Insurance companies generate a profit by maximizing sales while reducing costs, and these costs include payments to injured claimants like yourself.
The insurance company’s goal is to deny as many claims as possible, and even when it pays a claim, to pay as little as possible. Your bicycle accident attorney has the opposite goal of helping you receive the most possible compensation for your accident. An experienced lawyer will know how insurance companies work and what they need to do to maximize your damages.
When it comes to personal injury representation, you should always discuss payment and fees with an attorney before hiring them. Usually, a bike accident attorney will work on cases for a contingency fee. This means that your attorney takes payment as a portion of the settlement or award they earn for you – and they only take payment if they achieve a settlement or award for you.
For example, if you agree to a fair insurance settlement offer that your lawyer obtains for you, the lawyer will receive the settlement check. They will deduct the fees and expenses you previously agreed to and then issue the balance to you. The balance should still be enough to cover your losses, and you will never have to pay the lawyer anything out of pocket. This takes concerns about lawyer’s fees out of the equation and means that anyone can afford to hire a bicycle accident lawyer.
Reach out to a bicycle accident lawyer to discuss your legal options. They can review the circumstances of your accident and injuries, determine whether you have a valid claim, and start investigating and gathering evidence to support your claim. You can continue to focus on your medical treatment while knowing that someone is protecting your legal interests and rights.
After you sustain serious injuries in a road bicycle accident – such as a brain injury or serious fractures – your mind will be on your treatment and your physical and mental condition. It is easy to put off contacting a lawyer since you already have so much to worry about. However, waiting can only hurt your case.
Evidence of liability for bike accidents can dissipate or even completely disappear, including witness testimony, video footage, and more. It helps to have a lawyer engaged as soon as possible so they can begin gathering sufficient evidence to support your liability claims. In addition, hiring a lawyer can calm your worries regarding your legal case and how you will cover your losses.
You also might receive communications from the driver’s insurance company shortly after the crash. The insurer might offer an immediate payment, which might seem like a good deal, but the settlement offer is likely far below what you deserve. Never accept an initial offer, insurance companies use them to minimize payouts. Once you accept an inadequate offer, you cannot request additional funds. Have a bicycle accident lawyer review any offers before you decide.
Look online for a local injury attorney who lists bicycle accidents as a part of their practice, and do not wait to reach out. Attorneys are happy to talk to you for free and determine whether they can help with your case. Make the most of your recovery from your bicycle accident and hire an attorney now.