Today we're talking about your rights if you're a cyclist injured in a car accident. What kind of options do you have?
Important steps to take if you're a cyclist involved in a car accident
Some important steps you might want to take if you're a cyclist that was involved in a car accident.
Oftentimes, in these kinds of accidents, bicycles operate a differently than cars. They're in different locations on the road. That could lead the operator of the motor vehicle, the person that hit you, to change their story to try to blame the cyclist. So it's important to get a lawyer early to investigate it to make sure they get a copy of the police report, interview witnesses if there are any, engage engineers if necessary to do an accident reconstruction and to preserve your rights and make sure that you can advance your claim against the at fault party and ultimately get paid by their insurance company.
What forms of compensation are available to cyclists injured in a car accident?
In terms of compensation, what's available for cyclists that are injured in a car accident? It's the usual compensation that would be available for anyone injured in a motor vehicle accident and that would include claims for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, really impacting your life and wellbeing.
You can also claim for the economic or the pecuniary losses, and that would include things like medical expenses, support and services, so that could be services at home, assistance at home, housekeeping support, et cetera.
In addition, income loss. So if the injury has prevented you from returning to work or if it's resulted in your missing work or resulted in a change in your occupation. You can claim for those losses as well.
And it's important to also note that your lawyer will be trying not only to get you the losses that you immediately sustained but they'll also be working with you and your healthcare providers to identify whether you are gonna have any longer term complications that impact your function, your ability to work, et cetera. And trying to maximize your compensation so you can have security in the future as well.
How to protect your rights as a cyclist against insurance companies
The insurance company is going to look for opportunities to blame the cyclist. Again that gets back to just the nature of how bicycles operate on the road versus cars.
They'll look at where your bicycle was in the roadway? Did you signal? Was the bike easy to see for a car? Was it reflective gear? What were you wearing, in terms of safety equipment? Were you wearing a helmet? Could that have prevented some or all of your injuries?
Certainly insurance companies, they're gonna do their job at exploring and looking for ways to deflect blame, which in turn will save them money. So it's important again to have a lawyer that is looking out for you and making sure that your case is presented in the light most favorable to you, demonstrating that in fact, it wasn't your fault that it was really the fault of the vehicle that ultimately hit you.
Some cities and some roads will have dedicated lanes for bicycles and awareness of the fact that bicycles and cyclists are more vulnerable and try to offer more protection for bicycles. That's great to see and it's expanding, we see it in big cities, but it's starting to expand to the suburbs as well.
How to protect yourself when riding on country roads
A lot of cyclists enjoy riding on country roads. They're often gravel, shoulders and ditches on the side. The roadway itself is narrower. Sometimes there are hills. And as scenic as those are, they can be more challenging for cyclists in terms of safety. So it's really important for cyclists to also look out for themselves.
What are some common injuries seen in bicycle accidents?
Bicycle accidents often result in very serious injuries. Common injuries include head injuries, traumatic brain injuries. In a good situation, maybe an extremity fracture, like a leg or an arm. Sadly, you also see lots of skull fractures and head injuries, spinal fractures. Sometimes those injuries are fatal. The injuries tend to be far more serious with cyclists.
How to protect yourself as a cyclist and others riding with you
Follow the rules of the road, obey traffic lights and other signals like stop signs. Make yourself visible. You often see many cyclists like to wear bright colored clothing, that's very helpful.
Helmet goes without saying to protect yourself as best you can. For children, teach them proper etiquette when riding their bike. Make sure they look out for themselves. Try to make eye contact with other vehicles before crossing, and if possible, ride with your children when you're sharing the road with cars.
Those are just some tips that we would share based on accidents that we've seen involving cyclists.
What to do if you're a cyclist hit by an unidentified vehicle?
Unfortunately, sometimes with cycling accidents, sometimes the cyclist is never able to identify the vehicle that hit them. So this would be a situation where they may be riding a bike, they get hit by a car and the car just never stops. So it turns out to be a hit and run accident.
Those are a whole unique area on their own hit and run accidents. We have a video specifically on hit and run accidents, but what I'll say here is, fortunately in most situations, even if it turns out to be a hit and run and the vehicle driver of the vehicle itself is never identified, there still may be an avenue for you to recover your losses.
Have Questions? Contact us today!
Call us, we're happy to talk to you about your specific insurance policy or coverages that may be available. Our telephone lines are open to you 24 hours a day, seven days a week or you can request a free consultation on our website. We're happy to have a free consultation with you to answer your questions.
Andrew Iacobelli is an experienced personal injury lawyer who established Iacobelli Law Firm with offices in Palm Beach County Florida. Andrew restricts his practice to the representation of personal injury victims in claims involving serious injuries, Catastrophic Injuries, and wrongful death. Andrew is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.
Andrew Iacobelli is a Florida personal injury attorney. Andrew is also licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and the Province of Ontario and regularly represents victims in cross-border injury claims. Andrew restricts his practice to the representation of individuals that have been seriously injured.