Bicycle Accident Lawyers
If injured in a bicycle accident, it is important to know what legal rights and options may be available for recovering compensation from whoever is at fault or liable for the injury. The Doan Law Firm can help with a free initial consultation about the accident and what the law can do about it. The Doan Firm is dedicated to helping bicycle personal injury claimants obtain justice for what happens to them through no fault of their own.
Bicycle accidents may cause riders injuries as serious as death. Motor vehicle occupants involved in traffic accidents with them may suffer injury as well but usually minor or much less serious compared to what happens to the cyclist. As in all collisions, the principle that the object of less mass sustains greater damage applies. Helmets and pads provide some impact protection, but the probability of serious, life-threatening injury is high for cyclists in bodily collisions with motor vehicles weighing tons. Fractures are not unusual, nor are concussions, ruptured organs, dislocated spinal vertebrae, broken necks, and necessary amputations of limbs crushed and shredded beyond reconstruction.
Any bicycle accident injury may have major impact on the rider's life, so a bicycle accident personal injury claim may have great value. For a review of such a claim, feel free to contact The Doan Firm at any time. Initial consultations are free of charge, and clients pay no legal fees unless and until The Doan Firm recovers a settlement or wins a jury award for them.
After an accident, the responsible party's insurer may try to get statements from the injured claimant to twist into reasons to reduce the value of the claim. Insurance companies are profit-oriented, and for them reducing claims means increasing profits. They are not reluctant to offering settlements that do reflect actual damages fairly or adequately. Claimants who accept such settlement offers lose any right to recover more money if their injuries require further medical treatment. Cyclists who become personal injury claimants should have professional legal assistance, at the very least a consultation, before they begin any settlement negotiations.
About Bicycle Accidents
The bicycle can be a very pleasant, inexpensive, and healthy mode of transportation. Bicycle accidents, however, are not uncommon, and they can cause serious and permanent neck, spine, and traumatic brain injuries.
Two main types of situations can lead to bicycle accidents:
- Crashes with motor vehicles
- Manufacturer defects
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Injury Prevention and Control reports that hospital emergency rooms treat approximately a half million people annually in the United States for bicycle injuries, over 50 percent involving children 15 years of age or younger.
Bicycles on public roadways must follow the traffic laws for motorists, who must
- Watch for cyclists when making turns
- Yield to cyclists at intersections
- Allow at least three feet of clearance when passing cyclists
From defects in manufacture or design, bicycle frames or their components may fracture and fail, causing serious injury even at slow speeds. The fault is often within the bolts, composite forks, and aluminum frames.
How Common Are Bicycle Accidents?
Cyclists exposed unprotected against the crushing force of large motor vehicles usually sustain catastrophic and often fatal injuries while motorists walk away without a scratch. Not that cyclists are never at fault for collisions, but in most cases they suffer most if not all of the consequences. Seventy-five percent of all bicycle accident injuries are head trauma, which may require costly medical care, prolonged rehabilitative treatment, time away from work, and loss of regular income. For such expenses, injured claimants must pursue adequate compensation.
The Transportation Code Chapter 551 obliges cyclists to stop at red lights, yield to pedestrians in crosswalk, display suitable illumination at night, and obey the same traffic regulations for all public highway users.
As they cannot keep up with motor vehicle traffic, however, specific laws apply to them:
- Section (§) 551.102(b): Bicycles must not carry more persons than designed or equipped to carry
- § 551.103(a): Bicycles slower than other traffic must be nearest the right edge or curb of the roadway unless passing another vehicle traveling in the same direction, preparing to turn left, or prevented by road conditions
- § 551.103(c): Cyclists may not ride more than two abreast unless on roadways for bicycles only
- § 551.104(b): Cyclists may not ride at night unless on bicycles equipped with front lamps that emit white light visible from at least 500 feet ahead and rear lamps that emit red lights visible from 500 feet behind the bicycle
Knowledge of these specific laws is important as they can be factors in bicycle accident liability determinations.
Been in a Bicycle Accident?
The Doan Law Firm bicycle personal injury lawyers work with skilled teams of investigators and medical professionals to review bicycle accidents thoroughly so clients receive the best possible settlement offers. The Doan Firm knows from experience that the better prepared to prevail in court, the more likely a favorable settle out of court.
Any bicycle personal injury lawsuit requires an investigation for whether
- The cyclist wore a helmet while riding
- The motorist has liability insurance coverage
- Road conditions played an important part
- The other vehicle(s) exceeded the speed limit or drove recklessly
Too many motorist insurance adjusters attempt to get claimants to sign their rights away quickly. They see their job as to induce claimants to agree to accept the first settlement offer. Only later do claimants realize the mistake in signing away their rights.
When they signed, they could not know:
- Whether they would need long-term, ongoing medical treatment
- How long they would be off away from work
- How they would pay their expenses during their recoveries
For these reasons and more, it's critical to speak with a Doan Firm bicycle personal injury lawyer immediately if injured in a bicycle accident.
Is There a Claim?
Cyclists have rights that, assuming their compliance with the rules of the road, motorists must respect. If the roadway allows bicycle traffic and the motorist acts negligently, the accident is presumably the fault of the motorist and opens up the door for the cyclist to file a successful bicycle personal injury lawsuit.
Many circumstances may affect the case. More often than not, the motorist is at fault if the cyclist rides in a proper area and obeys the rules of the road.
Facts that strengthen the cyclist's case are whether the motorist:
- Was texting
- Was speeding
- Was on the phone
- Was playing loud music
- Was conversing with multiple passengers
- Had tinted windows
- Had window stickers
- Did anything else that was a distraction leading to the accident
if the motorist was impaired by drugs, failed a breath test, or received a ticket for anything at all, the case gets stronger.
If the accident occurs in a park with vehicular traffic, the park administration may be negligently liable for:
- Not providing bicycle lanes
- Not planning for mixed traffic
- Not posting speed limits
Riding at nighttime without lights or reflective clothing or at any time under the influence of an intoxicant could weaken the cyclist's case. Failure to follow any of the rules of the road could put the case in jeopardy.
What to Do After a Bicycle Accident
Actions cyclists take after bicycle accidents can affect the amount of damages recovered. What to do:
- Wait for the police to arrive
- Get the cyclist's version of events into any police accident report
- Obtain motorist and witness contact information
- Document what happened
- Document injuries
- Preserve evidence
- Get professional advice
It's essential to call the police and wait for them to arrive so they can take and then file a police report. There should be a police report even if the cyclist appears not to be injured seriously. Some cyclists don't realize they've been injured until many hours after the accident. Injuries that seem minor at first eventually can become serious and even permanent problems.
An injured cyclist should make no attempts at negotiations at the accident scene. Many motorists accept blame and apologize initially only to deny it later. Rather than negotiate with the motorist, wait for the police to arrive so the official report can document everything said. If the police issue a ticket to the motorist, it may help prove liability and make the cyclist's position stronger in settlement negotiations.
There have been accidents after which the police take statements from the motorists but not the cyclists, who need to do everything possible to get their statements of what happened into the record. They should report every injury sustained regardless of how minor they may seem to be at the time. If the police refuse to take a cyclist statement in an accident report, the cyclist can file a supplement or amendment to the report.
Get all information available about the motorist—address, driver's license, phone number, license plate number, and insurance information—and contact information for witnesses to the accident. Don't assume the police report will include all such information as it might not.
If possible, the cyclist should make some notes about the accident:
- When it occurred
- Where it occurred
- What happened and how
- Weather conditions
- Road conditions
- Traffic conditions
As soon as possible, put all this information in writing, and get medical attention for all injuries. Take photos of the injuries from all angles. Document the physical symptoms in a journal and make regular entries at least every two to three days.
After the accident, leave any damaged property in the same condition as of the accident. Make no inspections and fix nothing. Don't wash any clothes worn at the time. Take photos of all property damage from multiple angles. There is no such thing as too many photos.
Get professional advice from a Doan Law Firm bicycle personal injury attorney on
- Help with how best to proceed with the case
- Help with insurance company negotiations
- Help with a potential lawsuit
Put off communication with insurance claim adjusters or attorneys until after the free consultation. Anything said too soon to an insurance company claim adjuster is likely to be troublesome later.
Aftermath of a Bicycle Accident, Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer
Despite extreme diligence and caution, cyclists sometimes can't predict, nor can they ever control, the actions of motorists who share the roadways with them. Injured cyclists need experienced bicycle personal injury attorneys as bicycle personal injury law can be complex in areas that general personal injury practice rarely reaches.
Bicycle Accident Law
Determination of liability for bicycle accident injuries, comes down to negligence, particularly:
- Whether motorist negligence caused the injuries or
- Whether any cyclist comparative or contributory negligence caused the injuries
Motorists and cyclists alike must obey the rules of the road, not only traffic laws but also a duty of reasonable care as to both:
- Personal safety on the road and
- The safety of others on the road
In negligence lawsuits, plaintiffs must prove that defendants violated the duty of reasonable care owed to everyone else on the road. If the police cite a motorist for speeding at the time of an accident, the citation counts as evidence of negligence. At that point the burden shifts to the defendant to prove no liability for the injuries to the plaintiff.
Examples of cyclist negligence:
- Running a stop sign or signal
- Riding the wrong way on a one-way street
- Turning into traffic abruptly
A cyclist found negligent in an accident may be unable to recover damages for any injuries. This type of negligence is comparative or contributory. The cyclist's own negligence is responsible at least in part for the cyclist's injuries. If a cyclist rides negligently and injures another as a result, the cyclist may be legally at fault and liable for the injuries.
Contact The Doan Law Firm
Collisions between automobiles and bicycles often cause very serious injuries with liabilities quite large. Many traffic violations may be proof of negligence. Call The Doan Law Firm today for a free initial consultation. A Doan Firm bicycle personal injury lawyer will walk through all of the steps in the process and help establish the facts necessary to present your case. Contact our office today to see how we can help you. Doan is available to take calls 24/7/366 this year at any time of day or holiday, whether Thanksgiving or New Year's Eve. Call now at (800) 349-0000. The Doan Firm looks forward to your call.
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