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Imagine taking your normal morning bicycle ride. Suddenly, a reckless driver appears from nowhere and hits you, sending you sprawling on the ground. This is a common occurrence on our roads and often leave victims shaken and injured.

As a rider, you’re eligible to sue a driver who carelessly crashes into your bike. However, the process isn’t as straightforward as it may appear. Teaming up with a lawyer familiar with bike accidents significantly increases your chance of getting a fair compensation. But first, you need to you know your legal rights.

Liability in bike accidents

To establish fault in a car-bicycle crash needs careful assessment of the circumstances that caused the incident and the applicable traffic rules.

Here’s how it works:

  • Driver’s negligence: If the driver was reckless, speeding, and disregarded traffic safety guidelines, they are at fault.
  • Cyclist’s fault: If you were violating traffic laws by riding on the wrong way or turning into traffic, you might be held responsible.
  • Comparative negligence: Sometimes, both parties share partial responsibility. Your share of blame determines the compensation you receive.

Legal grounds for suing

Cyclists injured due to other driver’s reckless behavior have a right to file a suit against the negligent party.  Although every bike crash is different, whatever you’re likely to recover from the lawsuit depends on the circumstances of the incident and injuries.

Here’s what you’d potentially receive:

Medical bills

The cost of treatment includes all the expenses you incurred during the incident. However, that will depend on the evidence available because some injuries may be critical, requiring long-term rehabilitation.

Here are costs considered:

  • Hospital stays
  • Emergency room visits
  • Surgery
  • Rehabilitation
  • Medications
  • Medical equipment
  • Lost income

If your injuries caused permanent injuries or disabilities that prevent you from working, you can recover what you’d have earned. This includes:

  • Money lost when you missed work
  • Reduced earning capacity
  • Lost opportunities like overtime or promotions

You can speak to a bicycle accident attorney to calculate the amount of lost wages you need to claim.

Pain and suffering

After a bike crash, most victims endure pain. Seeking damages helps to compensate mental and physical distress associated with the injury. This includes:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Chronic pain
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Emotional distress
  • Property damage

Although easily overlooked, any damage made to your bike can form part of your claim. The damages to recover include:

  • Cost of repair
  • Cost of replacement of the bike
  • Cost of a renting another bicycle
  • Other damaged properties like phones

Steps to take after the accident

A bike accident often leaves the victim disoriented and stressed. But it’s crucial to act swiftly after the incident for your safety and to strengthen your case in court.

Here’s a what to do:

  • Your safety is a priority: Move to safer areas to avoid further harm. Ask for help from bystanders if your injuries are severe.
  • Report the case: Inform the police about the bike crash and request an ambulance if necessary. If you sustained minimal injuries, ensure to write a formal report, which many be checked by a doctor.
  • Seek medical attention: Let paramedics examine and treat your injuries immediately. Some injuries may not look serious at first but worsen with time.
  • Gather evidence: Collect relevant evidence at the accident scene to be used for future claims. Keep records of photos, contact information, and any damage to your bike.
  • Collect contact information: Take eyewitness account details, including what led to the collision.
  • Get official reports: Provide the police with accurate and clear information of what happened. Obtain a copy of the police report number, which will be an important piece of evidence.
  • Medical records: Visit a healthcare facility after the accident, even if you aren’t seriously injured. A thorough medical assessment can reveal any hidden harm to your body that you might be unaware of.
  • Notify your insurance provider: Inform your insurer about the crash promptly. Avail all the details they need, but don’t admit fault until you’ve contacted a lawyer.

Building your case

After taking care of your safety and collecting initial evidence, you need to start building a strong case.

Here’s what you should do:

Organize your evidence

A well-documented case stands a high chance of receiving maximum compensation. Obtain all necessary medical records, including hospital visits, diagnoses, and treatment plans. Keep a detailed account of any follow-up appointments and physical therapy sessions. Have a record of all medical costs related to your treatment, including doctor visits and hospital stays.

Consult a bike injury lawyer

A bike injury case may contain complexities that require legal representation. Having a skilled attorney by your side can drastically increase your chances of a successful case.

Here’s what to consider when opting for a lawyer:

  • Experience: Contact an attorney that specializes in bike accident cases. They should have an incredible history of winning similar cases.
  • Reputation: Search for the lawyer’s reputation using online reviews and testimonials. Personal recommendations from family and friends can provide insightful and valuable information about the attorney.
  • Initial consultation: Check if you can consult your lawyer without any charges, and use that opportunity to learn about their experience and fee structure.
  • Contingency fees: Most bike injury attorneys don’t ask for upfront fees. They only receive payments when you win your case.

Filing a lawsuit

To start a lawsuit, specific legal procedures must be followed.

Here are the steps involved:

  • Your lawyer will write a complaint, which highlights your allegations against the other party.
  • The court will summon the defendant to respond to the complaint
  • Your lawyer presents the available complaints and summons to the appropriate court, to officially record your lawsuit.
  • The defendant is served with the lawsuit to ensure they respond to it.

After this process, your claim can be resolved by settlement or through trial. If you win, the judge can award you the compensation you’re entitled to.

Conclusion

Bike crashes can have profound consequences on the victims. Without adequate protection, a collision can cause physical injuries to financial emotional trauma. By understanding your rights, you can pursue compensation for your injuries. Consult a seasoned lawyer to help you gather compelling evidence to build a strong case.

About the Author

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Husain Law Firm

Nomaan K. Husain is the founder of Husain Law + Associates — Houston Accident & Injury Lawyers, P.C., a Houston-based law firm specializing in Litigation, Immigration, and Aviation. He is Board Certified in Civil Trial Law and Personal Injury Trial Law, with law licenses in Texas, New York, and other jurisdictions. Mr. Husain serves in key community roles, including as Commissioner on President Biden's White House Commission on Fellowships and Chairman of Houston's Asian American Pacific Islander Advisory Board. He's been recognized with several awards, such as the Global Leader Award from the Houston World Affairs Council.

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