If you suffered injuries or a loved one died as a result of a bicycle accident, then you may have the right to receive substantial compensation. Contact an experienced bicycle accident injury lawyer today for a free case evaluation.
Bicycle accidents put cyclists at extreme risk of harm. As proof, look no further than the fact that crashes involving bicycles result in more than 2 percent of all traffic accident deaths annually, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Nationwide, 467,000 bicyclists suffer injuries every year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Pennsylvania itself registered 16 deaths annually, on average, in the most recent statistics tabulated. In fact, on a recent Father’s Day, a 17-year-old was struck and killed on his bicycle in Philadelphia.
Men account for roughly 70 percent of bicyclists killed in traffic accidents, and their injury rates soar higher than women’s injury rates. The average age of bicyclists in fatal accidents is 46. The death rate from bicycle accidents is highest in the age cohort from 50 to 59, although children from five to 19 years old suffer the highest injury rate, and constitute one-third of those seen in emergency rooms for bicycle injuries.
Common Bicycle Accident-Related Injuries
Bicycle accidents cause a wide variety of injuries. They range from the relatively simple and easily resolvable, such as a cut or bruise, to the extremely serious. A bicyclist involved in a collision with a car accident or truck accident, for instance, is virtually unprotected (except for a helmet) from the impact and will likely suffer severe injuries.
Some bicycle accidents can cause catastrophic harm, such as spinal cord injuries or traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Catastrophic means that the person is no longer able to work at a previous occupation, can’t perform certain activities of daily living, or can no longer enjoy former pursuits. Someone who suffers a spinal cord injury, for example, may suffer paralysis and require around-the-clock medical care.
Even minor injuries, however, can have serious consequences for cyclists.
Common cycling crash injuries that can inflict severe disability and pain include:
- Any traumatic brain injury, including supposedly “mild” concussions that can still cause long-lasting and severe impairments;
- Lacerations and road rash that pose a risk of uncontrolled bleeding, infection, and permanent scarring;
- Soft tissue injuries, including damage to muscles, ligaments, and tendons;
- Fractured bones, including debilitating breaks in the hips, arms, and legs.
- Internal injuries, which may include damage to vital organs that, if left untreated, can lead to severe – even fatal – health complications.
- Neck injuries, back injuries, and head injuries.
These are just a few examples, of course. A bicycle accident can inflict just about any injury you might imagine. To ensure you have appropriate legal representation, always make sure your bicycle accident injury lawyer has experience representing clients who have suffered injuries similar to yours. A lawyer who understands the medical science behind your injury gives you the best shot at recovering the full scope of compensation you deserve.
Options For Seeking Compensation For Bicycle Accident Injuries
Bicycle accident victims often have several options in seeking compensation for their injuries.
First, many bicyclists carry insurance that covers them against traffic accident injuries. Known as personal injury protection coverage, this insurance pays benefits to the injured cyclist no matter who is to blame for the accident. Bicyclists also frequently carry health insurance and long-term disability insurance that also covers them against some of the costs of a crash injury.
Second, bicyclists may also have the option of taking legal action against anyone legally responsible for causing the accident and its resulting injuries. This legal responsibility is known as liability. By hiring an experienced bicycle accident injury lawyer, the injured cyclist can seek payment from the party with liability for the cyclist’s injuries and losses. Typically, seeking payment involves filing a lawsuit against that party, and either negotiating a settlement of the lawsuit or taking the lawsuit to court.
To learn about your options for seeking compensation for a bicycle accident injury, speak with an experienced bicycle accident injury lawyer as soon as possible after getting hurt.
Types of Compensation for Injured Bicyclists
A lawsuit seeking damages for a bicycle accident injuries may seek compensation for a wide variety of harms done to the cyclist. The specific types of compensation a cyclist can obtain vary depending upon the facts and circumstances of the accident.
In general, however, bicycle accident victims can usually seek payment for:
- Current medical bills – For emergency transport, emergency room treatment, doctor’s visits, hospitalization, surgery, physical therapy, diagnostic tests, assistive devices such as crutches, prescription medication, and more
- Medical bills forecast in the future – For all the above categories, and projects such as retrofitting a home to accommodate the disability
- Current wages lost from work – If the accident or treatment caused the injured person to need time off work
- Wages lost from work expected in the future – If future treatment or condition is expected to result in time off work
- Lifetime earnings – If the accident rendered the victim unable to work
- Personal property – For personal property, such as a damaged bicycle
- Pain and suffering – Physical pain, as well as emotional and mental pain, including loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium, and more.
No lawyer can guarantee that a client will receive all, or even any, of the types of compensation listed above. However, by hiring an experienced bicycle accident lawyer, cyclists can give themselves the best possible chance of receiving the money they need and deserve to regain their health and rebuild their lives.
Putting a Value on a Bicycle Accident Claim
Bicycle accident claims vary in the amount of money a cyclist might receive as compensation for injuries and losses. Why? Simply because accidents themselves vary in the severity of the harm they cause. The amount an injured cyclist might receive by taking legal action depends on economic and non-economic factors.
Economic Damages Affecting Compensation
A cyclist’s economic (or out-of-pocket) damages usually account for a significant portion of the amount of a claim. These expenses will naturally vary from injury-to-injury and cyclist-to-cyclist.
Medical bills, for example, may run high for one type of injury, but relatively low for another. Lost wages add-up for a working-age cyclist with a high income, but might not amount to much for a cyclist who has reached retirement age and lives off of pension benefits. A cyclist who crashes a high-end racing bike may have a higher property damage claim compared to a cyclist whose bike was a second-hand clunker.
In calculating a client’s economic damages, experienced bicycle accident lawyers know the importance of collecting as much evidence as possible. Cyclists injured in an accident should always save all bills, statements, and receipts relating in any way to paying for the accident and its resulting injuries. No expense is too small to get included in the tabulation of economic damages that a cyclist can seek to recover in a legal action.
Non-Economic Damages Affecting Compensation
The non-economic damage from a bicycle accident can take a heavy toll on an injured cyclist, even if it does not translate directly into out-of-pocket expenses. By non-economic damage, we mean harm that does not necessarily come with a price tag attached; harms like physical pain, emotional suffering, and a diminished quality of life.
Because non-economic damages do not lend themselves to a simple calculation in the same way economic damages do, experienced lawyers will often estimate them. The more severe the non-economic harm (extreme pain, long-term emotional difficulty, massive disruption of the victim’s life), the higher the claim.
It is not a perfect method, of course. Sometimes, an injury with extreme non-economic impacts may require relatively low expense to treat. In those cases, multiplying economic damages by the highest multiplier may not truly reflect the scope of suffering the cyclist has endured because of an injury. That is why any injured cyclist should seek the advice and counsel of an experienced bicycle accident injury lawyer who has the skill and know-how to take all factors into account when determining the amount of money the cyclist should seek as compensation.
Proving Liability for a Bicycle Accident
A lawyer typically files a legal action seeking compensation for a client’s bicycle accident injuries against one or more individuals, companies, or government agencies. To force any of those parties to pay compensation, the lawyer must prove their liability for the harm the cyclist suffered. To prove liability, the lawyer needs evidence showing the facts and circumstances of the accident and the cyclist’s injuries.
Evidence about a bicycle accident can come from a variety of sources, including:
- Police reports – Police generally respond to any bicycle accident that injures or kills someone. They talk to everyone involved, survey the scene, and prepare a report that collects basic information about the accident and the parties involved. The police report will also give a preliminary opinion about placing blame for the accident, although his opinion does not necessarily constitute the last word on the matter.
- Security, dashboard, and traffic cameras – Video cameras in cars, on buildings, and attached to road signs often capture footage of a bicycle accident and provide valuable evidence for determining who should have legal liability for the cyclist’s injuries.
- Eyewitnesses – Eyewitnesses who personally saw a bicycle accident can provide crucial information about what happened. The sooner a lawyer can speak with eyewitnesses about what they saw, the better the lawyer’s chances of getting clear, accurate information from them.
- Pictures (images and videos) – Pictures of the accident scene, the vehicles involved (including the bicycle), and the injured can all provide evidence about the accident and its causes. Always take pictures at the scene of any bicycle accident, so long as it is safe for you to do so.
- Doctor and emergency room records – The type and severity of injuries a cyclist suffers can indicate how the accident occurred and who is to blame. Save all medical records relating to any bicycle accident that leaves you injured.
- Treatment recommendations – Treatment recommendations can also serve as evidence about the nature and severity of a cyclist’s injuries. Always follow all treatment recommendations to the letter, to protect against someone claiming that you made your injuries worse by neglecting your own health.
- Investigations – Expert investigation can sometimes help to pinpoint the cause of a bicycle accident. For instance, attorneys often work with accident reconstruction experts who examine the accident scene for clues about how an accident happened and who should face legal liability for a cyclist’s injuries.
Anyone Can Afford an Experienced Bicycle Accident Injury Attorney
Bicycle accident injury victims sometimes avoid meeting with a lawyer out of fear that they cannot afford the lawyer’s services. That worry, while understandable, is misplaced.
Experienced bicycle accident injury lawyers offer free case evaluations, to encourage anyone injured in a cycling accident to come speak with them. That way, injured cyclists have nothing to lose in sitting down with an attorney for a consultation.
Bicycle crash lawyers also work on contingency in virtually all cases. Contingency means that a lawyer only gets paid a fee if the client receives money as a result of the lawyer’s efforts. The lawyer and client agree in advance on a percentage of any recovery that the lawyer can keep as a fee. Clients pay no money upfront and get a top-notch lawyer who wants the same thing they want: as much money as possible, as quickly as possible.
If You Need a Bicycle Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one is in a bicycle accident, call an experienced bicycle accident lawyer to fight to obtain the highest damage compensation possible and help you achieve justice.
The Levin Firm
1500 John F. Kennedy Blvd,
Two Penn Center, Suite 620
Philadelphia, PA 19102