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When the Road Gets Rough: Contact an Expert Bicycle Accident Attorney
One moment, you're riding your bike down a gentle slope, feeling the wind against your face as the cars rush by. Next, in one brutal instant, your world is a nightmare of shattered glass, twisted metal, and wailing sirens. The aftermath of a bicycle accident can be just as disorienting, marked by countless hospital visits, a forced hiatus from your job, and a seemingly endless healing process. Between constant pain, medical bills, paperwork, police reports, and negotiations with insurance providers, recovery can feel like an uphill battle. While our bicycle accident attorneys can't undo what happened, Wettermark Keith is here to help you navigate the road ahead.
Understanding Bicycle Accidents
Whether you ride a bicycle for commute, exercise, sport, or leisure purposes, it provides a host of physical and mental health advantages, including weight loss, reduced cholesterol, and increased strength. Unfortunately, navigating through busy streets on two wheels instead of four can be risky.
According to the CDC, nearly 1,000 bicyclists are killed and over 130,000 are injured in crashes that occur on U.S. roads every year. Bicyclists may sustain moderate to severe injuries from any collision, whether it be with a motor vehicle, another bicyclist, a pedestrian, or an obstacle on the road. Sometimes, bicyclists simply lose control. Due to the lack of protection a bicycle offers in comparison to a motor vehicle, such accidents often lead to severe injuries.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
Bicycle accidents can be caused by a variety of factors. These typically include driver negligence, hazardous road conditions, or cyclist errors. Identifying the cause of the accident is crucial for any legal proceedings, allowing your skilled bicycle accident attorney to establish liability. Some of the most common causes of bicycle accidents include:
Distracted driving - Distractions, whether inside a vehicle or on a bicycle, are incredibly dangerous. They can include anything from checking a cell phone, adjusting the radio, eating, or simply not paying attention to the road. These distractions can lead to severe accidents.
Failure to yield the right of way - Many bicycle accidents occur when drivers or bicyclists do not properly yield the right of way. This can happen at intersections, when cars are turning, or when a bicycle is entering the road from a driveway or sidewalk.
Speeding - Excessive speed can reduce a driver's reaction time and increase the severity of a collision if it occurs.
Drunk driving - Impaired operation of a vehicle or bicycle is a major cause of accidents. Alcohol and drugs can severely affect judgment, reaction times, and coordination, leading to dangerous situations on the road.
Hazardous road conditions - Bicycle accidents can also occur due to poor road conditions such as potholes, cracks, or debris on the roadway. Cyclists are particularly susceptible to these hazards, which can cause them to lose control and fall, or force them to swerve into traffic.
Inadequate signage - Lack of proper signage can cause confusion about right of way or safe speeds, leading to collisions. For cyclists, unclear or missing bike lane signs can create dangerous situations where they may collide with vehicles or pedestrians.
“Dooring” and Rear-End Collisions: Types of Bicycle Accidents
Bicycle accidents can take many forms, and each type has unique legal considerations. Our skilled attorneys have seen all kinds of accident cases, and have the expertise to help you navigate your specific situation. Below are the most common types of bicycle accidents:
"Dooring" accidents happen when a car's door is suddenly opened without checking for an oncoming cyclist. These accidents often leave cyclists with little to no time to react and often result in severe injuries. Personal injury law typically places responsibility on the person opening the car door to check for cyclists first.
Right or Left-Hook Accidents
In a right or left-hook accident, a motorist turns right or left across the path of a cyclist. These accidents typically occur when a driver misjudges the speed of a cyclist or fails to see them altogether. Drivers are generally required by law to ensure the path is clear before executing a turn.
These accidents occur when a vehicle crashes into the back of a cyclist. These can be particularly dangerous, resulting in severe injuries or fatalities, as the impact typically propels the cyclist forward into or under the vehicle. This type of collision can occur due to distracted driving, speeding, or failure to maintain a safe following distance.
When a motor vehicle brushes past or “swipes” a cyclist from the side, hitting them, the cyclist is often thrown off their bike - sometimes into traffic. These accidents often occur when drivers misjudge the distance between their vehicle and the cyclist - especially while overtaking.
Head-on collisions occur when a cyclist and a vehicle moving in opposite directions collide. While these accidents are less common, they can be particularly devastating due to the combined impact speed of both the cyclist and the vehicle. Causes can include a vehicle or cyclist veering into the opposite lane or a cyclist riding the wrong way on a one-way street.
Understanding Bicycle Accident Law
Bicycle laws are designed to promote safe coexistence between cyclists and motor vehicles on the road. These laws vary by state and even by city, but they often include regulations about helmet use, where cyclists can ride, and how motorists should behave around cyclists. State regulations typically dictate that cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicle drivers. This includes adhering to traffic signs and signals, riding on the right side of the road, and using lights and reflectors at night.
A bicycle accident attorney can help you understand how these laws apply to your case. Below are some of the most significant state laws protecting cyclists:
Three-Foot Passing Laws
In many states, motorists are required to maintain a minimum distance of three feet while passing a cyclist. This law ensures cyclists are given adequate space on the road, reducing the likelihood of side-swipe accidents.
Right-of-Way at Intersections
Cyclists generally have the same rights as motorists at intersections, including when they are in bike lanes. This means that vehicles must yield to cyclists just as they would to other vehicles, reducing the likelihood of right or left-hook accidents.
Bicycle Helmet Laws
While helmet laws vary by state and age group, they generally require younger cyclists to wear helmets. These laws protect cyclists by reducing the risk of serious head injuries in case of accidents.
Bicycles as Vehicles
In many jurisdictions, bicycles are legally defined as "vehicles," granting cyclists the same rights and responsibilities as motorists. This can include the right to use the full lane when necessary for safety.
Safe Road Conditions
In some areas, there are laws that require road authorities to ensure roads are safe for all users, including cyclists. This can include ensuring road surfaces are free of hazards that could cause a cyclist to lose control and crash.
Certain jurisdictions have "dooring" laws that place the responsibility on drivers and passengers to check for bicyclists before opening their vehicle doors. This protects cyclists by reducing the risk of dooring accidents.
These laws are designed to protect bicyclists by establishing rules for how motorists must behave around them and giving bicyclists certain rights on the road. When bike laws are violated, the offending motorist can be held liable for any resulting accident. Ultimately, understanding the different types of bike accidents and their associated laws and regulations is key to building a strong legal case. If you have been injured in a bicycle collision, an experienced accident attorney can analyze your bike accident, determine liability according to local bike law, and guide you through the subsequent legal process.
What to Do After a Bike Accident
When you’re in a haze of pain, it can be challenging to gather your senses and proceed with the necessary next steps. It's important to remember that if you're involved in a bike accident, your first priority should be your safety. Get out of the road if you can, and call 911 if you or anyone else is injured.
If possible, follow the steps below immediately after your bicycle accident:
Your first priority after an accident should be your safety. If you're able, move out of the roadway to prevent further accidents. This might not be possible if you're seriously injured - in which case you should wait for medical help.
Even if your injuries seem minor, it's crucial to seek immediate medical attention. Injuries may not become apparent until days or even weeks after an accident. A medical report documenting your injuries will also be invaluable evidence if you decide to file a legal claim.
Once you've ensured your safety and sought medical attention, contact the local police to report the accident. A police report can serve as an important piece of evidence in establishing who was at fault, and it's important to provide a statement from your perspective that accurately details the events leading up to the collision.
Exchange contact information and insurance details with the other party involved. If there were any witnesses to the accident, ask for their contact information as well. Witnesses can provide an objective account of the accident, which may be vital if there's a dispute about who was at fault.
If you're able, take photos of the accident scene, including your bicycle, any damage to the vehicle involved, your injuries, and any relevant road conditions or traffic signs. This will help create a more accurate picture of the incident and can be crucial evidence in your case.
Inform your insurance company about the accident as soon as possible. Even if you weren't at fault, your insurance company should be informed of the accident. Be honest, but be careful what you say. Stick to the facts and avoid speculating about who was at fault.
Lastly, contact one of Wettermark Keith’s experienced bicycle accident attorneys. Your experienced attorney can guide you through the legal process, help you understand your rights, and advocate for the compensation you deserve. Even if you're unsure about whether you need an attorney, Wettermark Keith offers free consultations. Call our 24/7 legal team at (877) 715-9300 to discuss your options and learn what pursuing your accident claim might entail.
Bicycle Accident Claims and Compensation
Compensation in bicycle accident cases can cover a range of damages, including medical expenses, lost income, property damage, and pain and suffering. After a bike accident, the ensuing claim can cover various types of damages. These typically include:
Medical Expenses - this includes costs for emergency room visits, hospitalization, surgery, medication, physiotherapy, and any future medical expenses related to the accident.
Lost Wages - if your bike accident injury prevents you from working, either temporarily or permanently, you may be compensated for the income you've lost and any future earnings.
Property Damage - this compensation covers the cost of repairing or replacing your bicycle and any other personal property damaged in the accident.
Property Damage - this compensation covers the cost of repairing or replacing your bicycle and any other personal property damaged in the accident.
Loss of Enjoyment of Life - if your injuries prevent you from participating in activities you once enjoyed, you may be entitled to compensation.
The compensation available after your bike accident may vary based on the details of your case, including the severity of your injuries and the degree of the other party's fault. Your accident attorney can assess your case to provide an estimate of what your claim could be worth. If you or a loved one has been involved in a bike accident, don't hesitate to reach out to an attorney at (877) 715-9300 for a consultation.
Why You Need a Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Navigating the aftermath of a bike accident can be a traumatic, daunting experience. At Wettermark Keith, we understand the emotional, physical, and financial toll it can take on your life. In these challenging times, you don't have to face the legal process alone. Our committed bike accident attorneys are here to fight for your rights and ensure you receive the justice and compensation you deserve.
Your attorney can assist in gathering evidence, consulting with medical professionals and bike accident reconstruction experts, and handling all the paperwork associated with your claim. This allows you to focus on what's most important - your recovery.
Our lawyers are here to provide you with support, guidance, and legal expertise in these challenging times. We strive to hold any responsible parties accountable, negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf, and represent your needs and interests - all the way to the courtroom, if necessary.
Frequently Asked Questions
Leaving the scene of an accident is illegal. If you're a victim of a hit and run, try to collect as much information as possible about the vehicle and driver, report the incident to the police immediately, and contact a bicycle accident attorney.
While it's strongly recommended to wear a helmet, not wearing one doesn't automatically disqualify you from compensation. However, it may impact the amount of compensation you receive if it's found that a helmet could have reduced your injuries.
As soon as you're medically stable, it's advisable to contact an attorney. We can help guide you through the legal process and prevent you from making decisions that could negatively impact your claim. Remember, you are not alone in this. Your Wettermark Keith attorney is here to help you navigate this difficult time and fight for the justice you deserve.
The time limit, or statute of limitations, for filing a claim after a bicycle accident varies from state to state. It's generally within one to two years from the date of the accident. Consult with a bicycle accident attorney as soon as possible to ensure you don't miss the deadline.
Yes, you may still have a case. Some jurisdictions follow "comparative negligence" rules, meaning that your compensation may be reduced by the percentage you were at fault, but not eliminated. Your attorney can help explain how this applies to your specific case.
At Wettermark Keith, our attorneys work on a contingency basis, meaning you don't pay any legal fees unless your accident attorney wins your case. Furthermore, your initial consultation is completely free.
If the driver who hit you doesn't have insurance, you may be able to file a claim with your own insurance company if you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. An attorney can guide you through this process.
Serving Justice - One Case at a Time
With offices located throughout Alabama, Tennessee, and Florida, Wettermark Keith has an excellent reputation as one of the most accomplished personal injury firms in the country. Our reach is not only regional, but it includes a diverse range of practice areas - including bike accident law.
At Wettermark Keith, we believe in taking cases personally. Our purpose is to practice with care and compassion- to tell our clients’ stories and make their voices heard. We do this by building strong relationships based on constant communication and an unwavering dedication to truth and trust. You should never wonder what’s going on with your case. We will keep you in the loop and represent you like family- because to us, you are. Don’t hesitate to contact us at (877) 715-9300 or through our online form to set up a free consultation with our legal staff.
No Fee, Guaranteed!
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury due to a bike accident, it is crucial that you take immediate action to safeguard your rights. At Wettermark Keith, we understand the strain of escalating medical bills and the challenges that arise from being injured due to another’s negligence. During our complimentary case reviews, your attorney will review the specifics of your bike accident and determine whether you are eligible for compensation.
If we accept your case, you will pay us nothing until we win your case - and you will never pay out of pocket. Your experienced attorney will work to ensure you obtain the maximum compensation possible for your injuries, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
To schedule a consultation with a Wettermark Keith accident attorney, please don't hesitate to contact us via our 24/7 office number at 877-715-9300 or through the form on our website. You don’t have to face this alone - choose Wettermark Keith to help you secure the justice you deserve.
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