In 2013, more than 900 people in the United States were killed after being struck by a vehicle while riding a bike. In addition, over 490,000 bicyclists sustained injuries significant enough to warrant emergency room visits. Along with the emotional devastation, both non-fatal and fatal car versus bicycle accidents results in lost wages and lifetime medical bills that reach billions of dollars.
At greatest risk for being killed in a car versus bike accident are people ages 15 to 19, then ages 40 and older. As for non-fatal accidents with injuries, people ages 5 to 14 and then 15 to 24 make up the highest rates. Fortunately, cyclists can take a number of safety precautions. As an example, they should always wear a helmet, ride on the correct side of the road, use reflective or active lighting on the front and back of the bike, and wear reflective or fluorescent clothing.
If injuries were sustained from being hit by a vehicle while riding a bike, the injured party may need to consider taking legal action against the driver. For the majority of these accidents, someone was negligent, whether the driver or the cyclist. If the driver was negligent, it is imperative for the cyclist to speak to a personal injury attorney right away. Most importantly, the attorney should have years of experience and expertise specific to car versus bike accidents.
Depending on the driver’s situation and the severity of injuries suffered by the cyclist, sometimes a negligent driver will try to give money to the bike rider at the scene in hopes of avoiding an insurance claim or lawsuit. Even if tempted, a cash payout should never be accepted. After all, a bicyclist who does not appear to be injured badly following the accident may develop major problems days, weeks, and even months later. By accepting cash, there is zero legal recourse down the road.
It is also common for the driver’s insurance company to call the injured bicyclist, pushing hard for a low-ball settlement. Again, without knowing what the injuries could lead to in the future, a settlement should never be accepted. After hiring an attorney, this may end up being the best option, but without legal guidance, an injured cyclist could get badly burned by the insurance company.
When an attorney is hired, detailed information from the driver will be obtained, including videotaped statements. Witness contact information, a copy of the police report along with any diagrams and measurements of the accident scene, photographs, surveillance from nearby cameras, documents from work proving lost wages, and medical and/or dental bills will also be collected. The attorney may also schedule depositions for the driver, cyclist, and eyewitnesses.
A personal injury attorney will work tirelessly to get all of the accident details to prove that the driver was negligent. If a cyclist suffers serious injuries, there is a good chance of suing for pain and suffering, as well. Whether your injuries are minor or major, it is always best to hire a reputable attorney for any car versus bike accident.