Bicycle accidents are often the result of negligent driving on the part of motorists. In most cases, car, bus, and truck drivers fail to see cyclists on the side of the road or at an intersection. As a result, negligent drivers almost always claim a bicyclist “came out of nowhere” – but, this shouldn’t always be the case. It’s still vital to get the bicyclist’s side of the story.
While deaths from bicycle accidents remain relatively the same between 2017 and 2018, there has been a dramatic increase by 30% in the last 10 years. Deaths from bike accidents usually peak in the summer months, probably because a lot of people are out enjoying the weather. The majority of these deaths involved motor vehicle accidents, with males making up most of the mortalities. Unsurprisingly, the use of helmets reduced the risk of head injuries. This paved the way for the approval of helmet laws in many states in Washington DC. But despite all these, there are still a lot of bicycle accidents that could have been avoided.
.” To reduce the claim amount paid, insurers will often try and shift some or all of the blame onto the bicyclist. At Shea & Shea – A Professional Law Corporation, our personal injury attorneys carefully reconstruct what happened by working with accident specialists who measure skid marks, analyze the damage to a vehicle, look at the scatter of debris, and interview eyewitnesses. We use computer animation, when necessary, to explain to jurors what the evidence shows to hold negligent drivers responsible and counterclaims by insurance experts who attempt to shift blame onto our clients. If you have suffered an injury at the hands of a negligent motorist in the San Jose area, call (408) 292-2434 now.
A Bicycle Is No Match For A Motor Vehicle
When a motor vehicle collides with a cyclist, the result can be catastrophic. For bicycle accidents that involve motor vehicles, you will have to negotiate with the other driver’s insurance company to get the compensation you deserve. While this may sound easy, if you do get into that unfortunate situation, it might even cause you more pain than the actual bike accident.
What do I do if I get into a bicycle accident?
- Before doing anything, wait for the police to arrive so that an official report can be filed. The insurance company will use this report when processing your claims.
- Some cyclists might also “feel okay” after a bike accident, but do not be fooled. It doesn’t take a serious bicycle accident for a grave personal injury to occur. Sometimes, these injuries do not manifest right away (e.g. brain damage after head trauma). Do NOT leave the scene until you are examined by medical professionals. This might also give the impression that you are trying to get away from something.
- Do NOT attempt to negotiate with the other driver. Aside from possibly giving you false information, he might initially apologize and take the blame while blatantly denying these later on. He might even deny that he was actually present at the scene. Wait for the police to arrive so that an objective third party will hear both sides of the story. Again, they also need to document this information in the police report.
- Make sure your version of events is included in the accident report. Sometimes, police tend to talk to the motorist and not the cyclist – do NOT allow this to happen. Get in every detail of your story, including even the most minor injuries. You might be surprised at how high your medical bills can go.
- Get the contact information of both the driver and other witnesses: name, address, phone number, vehicle license number, driver’s license number, and insurance information. Don’t be quick to assume that the police will get all this information.
- Document the events, your injuries, and try to preserve evidence. This might sound like a job for the police, but it’s best to be prepared. Make mental notes of how and where the bike accident happened, weather conditions, and the surrounding environment. Was there a hazard on the road that could have caused the bicycle accident? Have several photos of your injuries taken as well. Make sure to leave your bike and other evidence in the state they were when the accident happened. You can also take photos of your damaged property.
- Seek professional help. With all the pain and suffering caused by the bicycle accident, don’t let legal issues give you more stress. Consult a bicycle accident attorney to help you on these matters. Bicycle accident lawyers may give you advice on how to proceed, negotiate with insurance companies, and serve as your legal representation.
As mentioned, do not contact the insurance company without consulting your bicycle accident attorney first. In fact, a simple letter from your injury lawyers to the insurance company might be all it takes. Most of these bicycle accident cases do not even make it to trial.
Your bicycle accident lawyer may also hire a bike accident expert to investigate the scene if the case warrants it. Minor details like skid marks and bystander reports might be obtained.
What are the common causes of bicycle accidents?
With cycling becoming a popular mode of transportation even in big cities, the rate of bicycle accidents is also steadily increasing. Even with bike lanes in most of Washington DC, many cyclists are still getting into accidents, most of which are avoidable.
Despite the creation of bike lanes, cyclists still have to share the road with other vehicles. Even if you are an experienced, law-abiding cyclist, your safety depends on the other drivers – how well-aware they are of the law, and if they follow it. Then again, road safety is not just about following the law, but practicing proper driving etiquette.
Among the most common causes of bicycle accidents are:
- A car door opening onto the path of an oncoming cyclist: While it sounds unlikely, these bicycle accidents happen regularly. Drivers and/or passengers often open their car door without looking if a bicycle is approaching. Usually, cyclists have no time to react; their only options are to crash onto the door, or to swerve onto the path of much larger, moving vehicles. It’s a no win situation and always ends in a bike crash.
- Reckless driving: This is a problem not just for cyclists, but also pedestrians and other drivers. Many Washington DC bicycle accidents involve reckless driving; fortunately, accident lawyers are well-versed in this issue.
- Bad roads: While this may not be evident in most of Washington DC, poorly constructed roads have made its fair share in vehicle accidents. Since bicycles are very lightweight, even a small bump on the road can cause catastrophic personal injury. You can get the compensation you deserve if your accident lawyer can prove the negligence in road maintenance.
- When turning or changing lanes, drivers sometimes fail to see cyclists. This usually happens when the vehicle is going too fast and is unable to stop in time.
WE REPRESENT CLIENTS SUFFERING FROM:
- Brain injury
- Head trauma
- Severe concussion
- Neck or back injury
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injury
Insurers are interested in reducing the amount they pay in claims. As a result, they often use different kinds of cost-reduction techniques to minimize their losses. One technique is to try and convince an injury victim that the best hope for recovering anything is to settle sooner rather than later. A claims adjuster may tell an injury victim it will be more expensive to take the case to court than to accept an offer. Of course, insurance companies realize that it may take months before the full scope of a head, neck, or back injury is known. By convincing an injury victim to settle in the days or weeks after an accident, they hope to settle before the full impact of an injury is apparent.
Start Protecting Your Interests And Rights
If our office represents you, our lawyers will start the process of having your medical situation evaluated to determine the true scope of your injuries. Once you retain us as your legal counsel, insurance claims adjusters and attorneys for the insurance company must contact us instead of you. As a result, you can rest assured that your rights and interests will be protected. To schedule a free consultation to learn more about our practice and how we can help you, contact the law office of Shea & Shea – A Professional Law Corporation at (408) 292-2434 today. You can also visit our Contact page to send us an email regarding your accident. We represent injured victims throughout Northern California.