Seattle & New York bicycle accident law firm
How to recover compensation after a bicycle accident
Bicycle accidents can be really serious. Although there are protective measures that may be put in place like wearing a helmet and knee pads, these may not be enough to protect you from sustaining injuries. They may not even do very much to minimize impact. If you have been injured in a Seattle or New York bicycle accident, know that you may be able to claim compensation for injuries sustained. You can file a lawsuit to hold the person that caused the accident responsible. At Oshan and Associates, we have handled a lot bicycle accident cases. We have helped these clients obtain the compensation they deserve for the injuries done to them.
Major causes of bicycle accidents
Bicycle accidents happen due to several factors that may be linked to the parties involved in the accident, and even the maintenance authority. Some the causes of these include:
Over-speeding: It has been observed that over speeding is one of the major causes of bicycle accidents. Drivers and cyclists should consider traffic laws, other road users, pedestrians and the condition of the road when determining a safe speed to travel.
Close riding: Close riding with motorists and other road users may be dangerous as cycling is a sport of balance. A slight hit may cause an accident. There are legal requirements as to space between road users in some states in the US. Drivers are required to leave at least three feet from the widest point of their vehicle and the bicycle. However, it may not be safe for a cyclist to assume that the cars will leave plenty of space. Concessions within the limited space may be given to ensure safety. It is even safer to use a shoulder lane or a sidewalk.
Inattentive riding or driving: The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents reported that in collisions involving a bicycle and a vehicle, the most common contributory factor was that either the driver or the rider “failed to look properly”. The likelihood of suffering severe injuries is increased when the rider or driver is under the influence of alcohol. Recently, there have been calls for headphone/earbuds ban for cyclists to help keep their attention and thereby forestall accidents.
Disobeying traffic laws: Running a traffic light or cycling across lanes are factors that have caused fatal bicycle accidents over the years. Cyclists are required to obey traffic signs, signals and lane markings, so are motorists.
Dangerous road conditions: According to the NHTSA, 13 percent of all injury-causing bicycle accidents are caused by roads that are not properly maintained. A single pothole can significantly increase the risk factor on roads, especially when it is not easily noticeable.
Where most bike accidents occur
The NHTSA report shows that 70% of fatal crashes happen in urban areas. 61% were not at intersections while 3% were in bike lanes. These statistics speak to several facts. The prominent one being that cycling in designated areas is the safest way to avoid accidents. It also shows that cycling accidents happen more in areas bustling with people – the urban areas.
Statistics on deaths from bike accidents
According to the 2015 report by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 2017, over 818 cyclists were killed in cycling accidents. This accounted for 2.3% of all traffic fatalities during the year. Another point of note is that there is a considerable rise in the number of fatalities from cycling accidents as 729 deaths was reported in 2014. With respect to frequency and day of the week, it was reported that 15% of cyclist fatalities occurred on weekdays between 6am and 8:59pm. Only 4% occurred during this time on weekends.
Precautionary measures against bike accidents
There are several measures you can take to protect yourself in the event of a bicycle accident. Some may include but not limited to:
- Wearing a helmet and a protective gear
- Staying mentally and physically alert
- Obey traffic laws
- Securing a suitable insurance
- Have an operational headlight
- Adopt defensive driving
- Ride in designated bike lanes and sidewalks
This list is not exhaustive and other measures may be taken. Try to avoid the use of earbuds and headphones as it affects concentration and mental awareness.
What you shouldn't do after a bicycle accident:
- Stay at the scene - Do not panic and start running. That may cause more harm than good.
- Keep insurance company at bay - You should not talk to an insurance company immediately as you may negotiate an agreement that will not be commensurate to your injuries. You may also end up admitting liability unknowingly.
- Do not sign any authorizations - Signatures are endorsements which may prove costly if your case eventually gets to court. Do not sign anything presented by insurance companies without consulting a lawyer.
- Do not attempt to repair any damage to your bike - Do not try to tamper with evidence either as it may affect the likelihood that you will recover compensation for your injuries.
What you should do after a bicycle accident:
You may still recover from your injuries and also claim compensation for the damage to your bike if you take note of and apply the following:
Take pictures & videos - Make sure you take enough pictures and videos of the scene. This can help in determining who's at fault, and asses damages.
Get off the road - Immediately after the accident, you need to get off the road. If you are able to move, you can do so yourself. If you aren’t, you may call for help. Getting out of the road helps to prevent further injuries.
Wait for the arrival of the police - It is advisable that you wait for the police to arrive at the accident scene. Ensure that they write a detailed police report. It is not advisable to start negotiations with the driver or other road user involved in the accident. This is because they may admit on the spot but later deny liability. If the police officer at the scene gives the other driver a ticket, this would be very useful in making your claim with the insurance company.
Write down everything you recall - Try to recollect all that happened on the scene before the police arrives. You should then recount your version of events to the police if requested. Sometimes, they may only take the statement of the other party to the accident. More importantly, write down what you remember from the accident the first chance you get. If the officer does not request your version of events, insist on telling them what you can recollect.
Collect driver and witness contact information - Ensure that you record the name, vehicle license number, phone number and address of the other driver. If possible, also take the names and contact information of any bystanders who saw the events. This will help your claim later. If you cannot get this information by yourself because of your injuries, you can ask a bystander to help you.
Reach out to a personal Injury attorney - Your best shot at getting full compensation for injuries caused to your person and damage caused to your bike, is to consult a personal injury attorney. Insurance companies are known to be tough with compensation claims. A misstep may cost you dearly. There are experienced attorneys who could help deal with insurance claims and personal injury cases and your best shot lies with them. Contact the best bicycle accident attorneys.
If you have been involved in a Seattle bicycle accident, you stand the best chance of a favorable outcome with the best Washington and New York personal injury firm. Our lawyers at Oshan and Associates are skilled at personal injury law and have the experience to provide thorough representation for you. Take advantage of our free no-obligation consultation to start a conversation with us today. Call us on 206-335-3880 to book your consultation.