Your Bicycle Accident Questions Answered
Cities such as Bellingham, Washington have a fairly high number of cyclists co-existing with motor vehicles on its roads. Sadly, every year, hundreds of bicyclists are struck by drivers and often end up badly injured. According to iihs.org, 843 bicyclists were killed in bicycle accidents with motor vehicles in 2019. The good news is that this was a three percent decrease from the 868 bicyclist deaths that occurred in 2018, but overall cyclist deaths have increased 36 percent since reaching their lowest point in 2010.
When you factor in the size difference alone, it’s easy to see why cyclists are at a much higher risk for injury and death when they are involved in a crash with a car or truck. Injured cyclists deserve justice and maximum compensation for their injuries. In this article we will answer some of the most common questions about bike accidents involving motor vehicles.
Top Bicycle Accident Questions
Is there a limited time frame to file an accident claim after a bike accident?
Yes. Like all personal injury claims, bike accidents come with a “statute of limitations” that puts a cap on the time that an injury claim may be filed. If a claim is brought after the deadline, the judge may deny the claim. In Washington State, most injury claims have a three-year statute of limitations but an exception is made for minors who have three years from the day they turn 18 to file a claim.
My bike accident was caused by a pothole or other roadway defect. Do I still have a case?
Filing an injury claim against a city or other government body for a defect in the road can be a little tricky. If your bike accident attorney can prove that the dangerous road conditions were present because of someone’s negligence or that the city knew about the hazard but did not repair it in a timely manner or use signage to warn the public; there is a good chance that you will be able to recover damages. It is best to seek the help of a bicycle accident attorney to help you fight for the compensation you deserve in this scenario.
What should I do after a bicycle accident?
First things first: make sure everyone is okay and seek appropriate medical care. Exchange insurance and contact information with the driver and write down contact information for any witnesses. Call the police for an accident report. If you are able, take pictures of the scene, your bike, the other vehicle and any visible injuries. As much as possible, document and preserve the evidence from the scene of the accident and keep receipts and transcripts from all resulting medical care.
Do not admit guilt or responsibility for the accident or post about it on social media. Keep notes about any injuries you sustained and the medical care required to treat those injuries.
What should I do if the driver who hit me ran from the scene?
If you are involved in a hit-and-run bicycle accident, try to read the license plate number as it drives off and write it down right away. If you cannot read the license plate, try to at least identify the color, make and model of the vehicle and a description of the driver. Look around to see if you can find any witnesses and call the police. If you are able to get the license plate number, the police will have a good chance of tracking down the driver. If the driver isn’t found, you may be able to recover a settlement through your uninsured motorist (UM) liability coverage. Contact a bike injury lawyer for help with this process.
The at-fault insurance adjuster is calling me. Should I talk to them?
It is never a good idea to speak with an insurance adjuster for the at-fault driver before consulting with a bike crash lawyer. For one, you could accidentally say something about the accident that could be used as justification to offer an unreasonably low settlement and two, it is hard to know if they are offering a reasonable settlement without the input of an experienced accident lawyer. Ideally, your attorney will negotiate with the adjuster on your behalf because they know the tricks that adjuster’s play to minimize insurance settlements. Note: you are required to report an accident to your own insurance agent.
Bicycle accidents involving a car
If you have lost a loved one or been injured in a bike accident through no fault of your own, you have enough on your plate. Let an experienced bike accident attorney fight for the justice and fair compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times larger with the help of a lawyer. Call the caring, tireless and experienced wrongful death attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County and surrounding areas since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!