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Bicycling is a healthy, green way to commute to work, run your errands, or simply spend time exercising outdoors. As the third-largest city in the Seattle region, Bellevue is home to many bicyclists. It is also home to numerous busy roadways, such as Interstate 405 and State Route 520. Even smaller roadways can become quite busy during rush hour, creating an accident risk for motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists.
In 2013, 1,325 collisions between bicycles and motor vehicles were recorded in Washington. Of these, 87 resulted in serious injury and 11 resulted in death for the bicyclist. Nearly all of the bicyclists involved in collisions with motor vehicles that year were injured in some way. If you are injured in a bicycle accident, you can seek compensation for your damages through a personal injury claim.
Bicyclists have to take certain precautions that motorists do not have to take to avoid injury. This is because of the way roadways are designed as well as the relative safety a car’s chassis provides compared to a bicycle.
When you ride your bicycle on the roadway, you need to share the road with other types of vehicle. If there is no bicycle lane where you ride, ride in the shoulder to keep yourself out of the cars’ way. Signal to motorists, pedestrians, and other bicyclists when you plan to make a turn and always ride with the flow of traffic. Of the bicycle fatalities that occurred in Washington in 2013, more than one quarter occurred because the bicyclist rode against traffic.
Always make yourself as visible as possible to others on the roadway. At night, wear light-colored clothing when riding. Outfit your bicycle and your riding clothes with reflective tape and if you plan to ride at night frequently, mount a light on your bicycle.
If you are involved in an accident, your helmet can protect you from suffering a severe brain injury. Although there is no statewide law requiring Washington bicyclists to wear helmets, all bicyclists in King County must wear them while riding.
Bicyclists have the same rights as motorists on the roadway. With that comes the same responsibility to ride in a safe manner and obey all posted traffic signs. Like motorists, bicyclists can be ticketed for violating traffic laws. Bicyclists can also be held liable for damages resulting from accidents caused by their negligence.
There are many ways an individual can be injured in a bicycle accident. Examples of injuries that can result from a bicycle-car collision include:
Because your bicycle lacks a protective metal chassis, you have a greater risk of suffering physical injuries in a collision than a motorist has. If you are thrown to the ground, you can easily break your wrist, cut yourself on a sharp object, or become disfigured and suffer blood loss if your skin is torn on the asphalt. Injuries sustained in bicycle accidents can lead to long-term, even permanent, complications such as paralysis, a decline in cognitive function, and mental issues like depression or anxiety. When a bicycle accident results in a victim’s death, his or her loved ones may seek compensation for the damages associated with the death, such as the loss of the victim’s income and companionship, through a wrongful death claim.
Seek medical attention for your injury as soon as you can after your accident. Do this even if you do not feel that you were injured. Certain injuries, like traumatic brain injuries, do not have visible symptoms and can easily be overlooked. But when these injuries go untreated, they can become much more severe, sometimes leading to permanent damage for the victim.
If you are involved in a bicycle accident, document the accident as completely as you can before you leave the scene. This documentation will be important evidence later to support your personal injury claim.
Immediately following the collision, stop riding. Pull off the road if it is safe to do so. Take photographs of the scene and be sure to get the driver’s name, insurance information, and contact information. Call the local police department to have an officer sent to the scene to fill out an official police report. This, too, will be an important piece of evidence to support your claim. Do not leave the scene of the accident without a copy of the official police report and the driver’s insurance information. If there were witnesses to the accident, take down their contact information as well.
After you receive appropriate medical attention, contact a personal injury lawyer to start working on your claim. In most cases, you will need to file your claim within three years of the date of your accident. Using evidence you gathered at the scene as well as your medical bill, a record of your lost wages, and any other relevant documentation showing that you suffered specific monetary damages because of your injury, you can seek compensation for the following:
If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, you could be entitled to seek monetary compensation for your damages through a personal injury claim. After you have received appropriate medical treatment for your injury, consider working with an experienced personal injury lawyer to seek compensation for your damages through a bicycle accident claim. Our team at Khan Law Firm, PLLC has experience representing injured bicyclists like you. Contact our office today to set up your initial legal consultation with a member of our firm.