When Do You Need Bicycle Accident & Injury Lawyers?
A lawyer can help you and your family recover after a bicycle accident injury.
Bicycling is environmentally-friendly transportation, exercise, and sport for so many, but there is a real risk of injury for bicyclists. After an accident, your priority is healing and getting your life back to normal as best as possible. A bicycle accident lawsuit can be part of that process. Your legal action can bring about tangible benefits to your life, improve your future prospects, and help increase safety for other bicyclists in your community.
At the Smith Law Center in Virginia, we have a track record of achieving record-setting settlements and verdicts for our clients. This is due to our skills as trial lawyers, and our in-depth knowledge of catastrophic injury laws, particularly brain and spinal cord injuries. The billions we’ve recovered for our clients helps each of them access the long-term treatment needed after profound injuries, and relieves the burdens of care for their families and loved ones.
Whether your injuries are mild or severe, the bicycle accident and injury lawyers at Smith Law Center shall pursue the maximum compensation available to help you. Contact us directly online or by calling (757) 244-7000 to discuss representation. For more information on common causes of bicycle accidents and how that impacts liability under the law, read on.
What Is My Bicycle Accident and Injury Worth?
The settlement or damages award achieved by a bicycle accident injury lawsuit could include coverage for:
- Medical bills, everything from an initial ambulance to surgeries, medications, and ongoing physical therapy
- Lost wages and other job-related benefits such as sick and vacation time used to recover from your accident, lost advancement opportunities, reduced hours, or loss of employment entirely due to an inability to work due to your injuries
- Pain and suffering losses like the physical pain associated broken bones, bruises, and lacerations, and also psychological anguish of panic, stress, and grief
- Punitive damages which are punishment fees a judge may charge to a wrongdoer or negligent party in your case, funds which are then awarded to you on top of
- Remedies like installing a safety guardrail or stoplight, changing emergency protocols, or other solutions that help prevent what happened to you from happening again to someone else
If a bicycle accident caused or contributed to the death of your loved one, another legal option you have is a wrongful death lawsuit. Such lawsuits help pay for end-of-life and funeral expenses, account for the loss of financial support and emotional companionship, as well as provide a valuable sense of justice and closure for your family.
What Is the Most Common Bicycle Accident Injury?
Even when wearing protective clothing and safety gear like helmets on a bicycle, our bodies are largely vulnerable should we fall, crash, or get hit by another vehicle. The most common bicycle accident injuries include:
- Soft tissue injuries to skin caused by road rash, bruising, or lacerations, including to the face and eyes of bicyclists
- Head and neck injuries caused by whiplash due to sudden stopping, and impact injuries that can lead to traumatic brain injury (TBI) or spinal cord damage
- Broken bones and other musculoskeletal like dislocations and sprains
- Vital organ damage from tears, ruptures, or puncture traumas
- Genitourinary injuries to the genital area, reproductive organs, or urinary system
Even when learning to ride a bike with every safety precaution, a simple fall can still cause serious injury to skin, joints, bone, and brain. However, if you’re involved in a bicycle accident with another vehicle, the risk of severe and irreversible injury skyrockets.
Where Do Most Bike Accidents Happen?
The statistics for where most bicycle accidents occur paint a revealing picture regarding where safety standards are lacking. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS):
- The majority of bicyclist deaths occur in urban areas each year (as high as 80%), as opposed to rural areas (20%).
- Most bicyclist deaths occur between 6-9 PM, regardless of the season (these are the twilight hours around sunset).
- Men are 4x more likely to be injured and 6-8x more likely to die in bicycle accidents than women. Men’s share of the fatality number has been greater than women’s every year since 1975.
- Counterintuitively, bicycle fatalities in bike lanes, intersections, and parking lots make up only 37% of deaths, while the majority (63%) occurred on the open road or other locations (like driveways).
- Adults between 50 to 59 years old have the highest rate of bicycle fatalities, while children and adolescents under 20 years old have the majority of non-fatal bicycle-related injuries.
These numbers indicate that adult bicyclists are most in danger during the evening hours, and in places where drivers don’t stop to look for pedestrians.
Data and research like this helps your attorney build your injury case, as it indicates that fatal crashes are more likely when drivers aren’t paying close attention. It also helps account for when environmental factors (like the brightness/position of the sun) could be minor or major factors in an accident.
What Should I Do if Someone Has Hit Me While I Was Biking?
All injuries, even if they seem minor at the time, should be evaluated by a medical professional. If you’re able to do so, securing your private effects is also important. Items like your keys, wallet, and other valuable or identifying possessions should stay with you.
Once you are home or stabilized in the hospital, here are the next steps you should take to protect yourself:
- Call an attorney: The sooner you have a legal professional on your team, the better. The lawyers at Smith Law Center can gather evidence on your behalf, interview witnesses and bystanders, advise you regarding initial insurance company offers to settle, and file any paperwork necessary to begin legal action.
- Maintain your privacy: You are under no obligation to talk directly to the people who hit you, nor their legal or insurance representatives. If you speak to police, you can do so with an attorney by your side. When talking to medical staff, you only need to discuss medical matters which they must keep confidential, not any other details regarding the accident.
- Keep all records: Any documents about medical procedures, insurance paperwork, or other bills associated with your accident (like towing) should be kept whenever possible. These records can serve as vital evidence later to help us strengthen negotiations for a settlement or argument in court should your case go to trial.
If you have questions about your rights or what qualifies as possible important evidence, speak with an attorney at Smith Law Center for specific information. We provide a free, no-obligation consultation regarding your legal options and the services we provide with representation.
“The attorneys and staff at Smith Law Center are great to work with. They care not only about a successful recovery, but ensuring their clients know what options are available for protecting the recovery long-term.”
– Andy H.
Contact Bicycle Accident and Injury Lawyers
If you’ve been injured due to a bicycle accident, regardless of whether it was caused by a motorist or by a negligently unsafe road, you deserve the resources necessary to heal with dignity and in peace. If you are acting on behalf of an injured loved one, you deserve support as a caretaker, and the means required to keep your family stable and secure during this difficult time.
The bicycle accident and personal injury lawyers at Smith Law Center understand what life-altering accidents mean for individuals and families. Our case results include multi-million dollar settlements and verdicts for our clients — satisfactory outcomes that are due to our thorough casework and extensive understanding of the law. We leave no stone unturned when seeking the compensation you’re entitled to after an accident.
Reach out to our attorneys at (757) 244-7000, or by filling out our online contact form. However mild or severe your injuries are, know that our lawyers recognize the true value of all that you have lost. We will work tirelessly to prove that worth in court, and seek the justice you deserve.
Bicycle Accident FAQs
What are common auto-involved bicycle accidents?
Sharing the road with motor vehicles can be extremely dangerous for bicyclists due to common accident causes like:
- Failure to yield the proper right-of-way at an intersection
- Failure to stop fully at traffic lights or stop signs
- Side-swipes that occur when drivers strike or glance against riders in the bike lane
- Turning collisions that result while drivers executing a turn and fail to notice bicyclists
- “Door zone” crashes that happen when a parked car suddenly opens their door into the bike lane without remembering to check for bicyclists
Drivers of cars and trucks are used to sharing the road almost exclusively with other motorists. A moment of inattention from a driver could mean a lifetime of injuries for a bicyclist.
What is bicycle accident liability?
The law holds both drivers and adult bicyclists responsible for their own actions on the road. Liability is determined by the evidence gathered after the accident (such as witness statements, tire patterns on the road, and/or electronic data that could show a driver was texting while driving).
That being said, vehicle drivers are held to a higher standard of reasonable care. This is because they are operating a far more dangerous vehicle than a non-motorized bicycle, a machine that requires a higher amount of responsibility.
How many bicycle accidents are caused by cars?
During one year in the U.S. where over 1,000 bicyclists died and almost 467,000 were injured, the percentages broke down among six distinct causes:
- 30% were hit by a car
- 17% fell from their bikes
- 13% were due to poorly maintained roadways
- 13% were caused by bicycle rider errors
- 7% resulted from a collision with a fixed object
Of the car-involved accidents, 18% of those cases were due to drivers failing to see the bicyclist, and 22% were due to opening the driver or passenger side doors into the path of an oncoming bike rider.
How long do I have to file a bicycle accident lawsuit?
As with many other personal injury lawsuits, there is a limited window of time (known as a “statute of limitations”) during which you can file a lawsuit. The deadlines vary from state to state, but in Virginia where the Smith Law Center is headquartered, that timeframe is 2 years from the date of the injury.
After a severe injury, you may be incapable of doing the work necessary to file a suit. If you’re now the primary caretaker of your injured loved one, you likely do not have the time to gather evidence, research the law, and negotiate with opposing insurance agencies or attorneys. Let us handle the filing deadlines and all the relevant legal work on your behalf.
Call the Smith Law Center at (757) 244-7000, or fill out our online contact form to schedule your free consultation. There is no obligation or upfront cost on your part — we’re here to help you to the other side of this traumatic experience and a better future.
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