Bike Accident Claims FAQ
Bikes are an excellent way to get around and enjoy what the great State of Texas has to offer – not to mention the fact that biking allows you to get in some healthy exercise and to do your part to save the earth. While biking has many great things about it, bike accidents are exceptionally dangerous, and if someone else’s negligence leaves you injured in a bike accident, it can upset your world in ways that can be difficult to comprehend. Having the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions as they relate to bike accident claims may leave you better prepared to address the difficult path forward toward healing.
What is the most important step I can take after a bike accident?
If someone else’s negligence leaves you injured in a bike accident, the first order of business is seeking the medical attention that you need. After this, it is important to consult with an experienced bike accident attorney as soon after the accident as possible. The fact is that bike accident claims are exceptionally complicated, and the sooner you bring in professional legal counsel, the better protected your claim will be.
Why do I need a bike accident attorney?
While there is no requirement that you have a dedicated bike accident attorney in your corner, doing so can give you a distinct advantage when it comes to recovering your full range of damages (in their entirety). Without this level of compensation, achieving your fullest recovery can be out of reach. Your bike accident attorney will take on many roles, and each of them is essential to building your strongest claim. These include:
Gathering all relevant evidence in support of your claim
Compiling all available evidence into a strong claim that supports your legal rights
Engaging the expert witnesses necessary to help defend your claim
Skillfully negotiating with the insurance company for just compensation that covers your complete damages
Preparing to go to trial in the event that the insurance company refuses to negotiate fair terms in good faith
Helping you make the best choices for you throughout the legal process
What are the elements of a bike accident claim?
In order to bring a successful bike accident claim, specific elements must be present.
Driver’s Duty of Care
When we head out on the road – whether we are behind the wheel of a car or truck, are on foot, or are riding a bike – we all owe each other a duty of care that includes following the rules of the road and allowing for everyone else’s safe passage. If you are injured in a bike accident, the driver of the vehicle involved owes you a duty of care by definition.
Duty of Care Breached
The second element of every successful bike accident claim is that the duty of care owed to you was breached. This means that the driver involved in the accident either failed to follow the rules of the road or engaged in another form of driver negligence (which amounts to a breach of the driver’s responsibility to drive safely).
Next, you will need to demonstrate that the other driver’s negligence was the direct cause of the bike accident that caused you to be injured. For example, if the motorist behind the wheel of the car involved in your bike accident was texting at the time of the accident – and as a result failed to see you stop at a red light – his or her distraction can be directly linked to the bike accident that caused you to be injured.
Finally, in order to bring a successful bike accident claim, you must have suffered actual legal damages (or losses). These can include financial, emotional, and physical damages that are often extensive.
What are my legal damages?
Your legal damages are the covered losses you experience as a result of the motorist’s negligence, and they tend to break down into several categories.
If you have been injured in a bike accident, you have likely experienced serious injuries that lead to serious medical expenses. Such injuries often require ongoing medical care related to secondary health issues and long-term healthcare needs. Common medical costs include:
Emergency care and emergency transportation
Medical treatments, tests, procedures, and more
Medical attention from doctors, specialists, and other medical professionals
Physical and occupational therapy
Adaptive physical devices
Home health care
Assessing your healthcare needs in their entirety is critical to your ability to fully regain your health and well-being.
The healing process can be lengthy, and while you are recovering, you will very likely experience both lost hours on the job and lost wages. The fact that this loss is in tandem with those mounting medical bills makes it that much more challenging. Additionally, if your ability to perform your job or to continue advancing your career is affected, it can lead to a decrease in your earning potential, which can have considerable financial consequences over the course of your expected career.
Pain and Suffering
The physical and emotional pain and suffering you endure as a result of the terrifying bike accident (caused by someone else’s negligence) that leaves you injured can be more difficult to quantify, but this does not alter how challenging this pain and suffering can be. Many bike accident victims experience psychic consequences that are exceptionally difficult to recover from. Consider the following:
Fear of getting back on a bike
Increased anxiety, which can include panic attacks
Severe mood swings
A tendency to self-isolate and push others away
Episodes of depression
Sleep disturbances that can include nightmares
Difficulty coping with even minor upsets
Addressing your physical, financial, and emotional losses in their entirety is immensely important to your ability to recover fully, and your experienced bike accident attorney will skillfully endeavor to ensure that your losses are thoroughly explored and well represented in your bike accident claim.
What makes bicyclists so vulnerable to serious injuries?
When you are on your bike, you can maneuver nimbly through traffic, but the immense size differential between you and the vehicles all around you leaves you exceptionally vulnerable to the powerful impact of an accident. In fact, bicyclists are vulnerable in all the following ways:
You lack the metal shell that cars have, which means there is nothing to shield you from the direct impact of an accident.
Your size makes it far easier for you to get lost in drivers’ blind spots and makes it more difficult to see you in general.
When you ride in a bike lane, you are vulnerable to car doors being flung open and other dangers that motorists tend not to experience.
Because you ride on only two wheels, you are less tethered to the ground and more susceptible to the dangers caused by factors such as inadequate road maintenance, bad weather, debris on the road, road construction, and more.
In a bike accident, you are very likely to hit the ground and to be dragged across it, which leaves you vulnerable to serious cuts, abrasions, and burns that are often called road rash.
What are the most common causes of bike accidents?
Bike accidents – like other kinds of traffic accidents – are often caused by driver negligence, which can come in a wide range of dangerous varieties.
Failure to Follow the Rules of the Road
When motorists believe the safety rules of the road do not apply to them, they make our roads more dangerous for everyone who travels on them, and bicyclists are exceptionally vulnerable to this callous attitude and to its inherent dangers. When it comes down to it, you do not have much of a chance in a bike accident involving a vehicle that is many, many times larger than you and your bike. Further, when motorists choose to abandon the rules of the road, it significantly increases the risk that bike accidents will happen.
Motorists who ignore the posted speed limit or who fail to adjust their speed safely in accordance with the conditions on the road get you coming and going. Not only do they make accidents more likely, but they also increase the chances that these accidents will be deadly. Excess speed plays a pivotal role in far too many bike accident statistics.
Distraction on our roadways often proves deadly, and it is all too common. While there are any number of distractions that motorists allow themselves to become caught up in, texting is by far the most dangerous. Texting manages to intermingle all three forms of distraction, including:
Physical distraction (involving one’s hands)
Cognitive distraction (involving one’s thoughts)
Visual distraction (involving one’s vision)
If a text takes an average of five seconds to read or write and the distracted motorist is driving at highway speeds, he or she drives blind for about the length of a football field, and this puts everyone on the road – including bicyclists like you – in immense danger.
Drunk drivers suffer physical, cognitive, and visual impairments, and this puts bicyclists at immense risk. Impaired drivers have a difficult time staying in their lane, seeing what is actually in front of and all around them, and concentrating on driving safely, and these effects make them extremely dangerous drivers who should not be on the road in the first place. This is exactly why the State of Texas has strict drunk driving laws in place that it is serious about enforcing.
Drowsy drivers are uniquely dangerous drivers because most fail to recognize the danger posed by their exhaustion. The truth is that drivers with too little sleep under their belts experience some of the same impairments that drunk drivers do, which needs little explanation when it comes to calculating the danger involved. Drowsy driving is a serious problem on our roads, and bicyclists can pay the ultimate price.
Aggressive drivers take negligence to new heights. Aggressive drivers have a tendency to act as if the road belongs to them, and they drive accordingly. The hallmark of aggressive drivers everywhere is engaging in multiple forms of dangerous driving at any given moment. Some of the most common examples include:
Zipping in and out of lanes
Ignoring traffic lights, signs, and signals
Refusing to yield the right-of-way
Attempting to engage other motorists and/or taunting other motorists
Cutting off other drivers
Dashing across multiple lanes with little if any concern for traffic
Will my bike accident claim go to trial?
If you have been injured by a motorist’s negligence in a bike accident, the last thing you want to think about is going to court. This is completely understandable. It is important to understand, however, that the vast majority of bike accident claims (and all personal injury claims) are settled out of court, and yours is very likely to fall into this camp. Your bike accident attorney, however, will prepare for court and will let the insurance company know that you are ready, willing, and able to file a lawsuit and take the matter to court if it refuses to negotiate in good faith. While your claim is unlikely to end in a trial, following your skilled bike accident attorney’s lead on the matter is important to your ability to obtain the compensation to which you are entitled. In other words, there is no need to fear going to court – it is unlikely to happen, and if it does, you will be well prepared.
Discuss Your Concerns with an Experienced Killeen Bike Accident Attorney Today
Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard – proudly serving Killeen, Texas – is a bike accident attorney who has a wealth of impressive experience guiding claims like yours toward resolutions that support our clients’ best interests and fullest recoveries. We are here for you, too, so please do not hesitate to contact us online or call us at 254-501-4040 for more information today.