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BURIEN BICYCLE ACCIDENT LAWYER

Washingtonians are well-known as physically active and environmentally conscious people. That is one reason bicycling is so popular in the state. In fact, according to the League of American Bicyclists, Washington ranks as the most “bicycle friendly” state in the country, beating out even our Pacific neighbors Oregon and California.

But as the number of bicycles on Washington’s roads increase, so too does the risk of a potentially catastrophic accident. Although the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention note that only about 1 percent of all daily trips nationwide involve bicycles, bicyclists “face a higher risk of crash-related injury and deaths than occupants in motor vehicles.” Here in King County alone, there were 550 bicycle accidents reported to the Washington State Department of Transportation in 2017 alone, which included 5 fatalities and 45 cases involving “serious injuries.”

Many bicycle accidents are the result of negligent motorists who either do not understand–or simply chose to disregard–the rules of the road when it comes to interacting with bicyclists. If you have been seriously injured, or lost a loved one, as the result of such negligence, you may be entitled to compensation from the responsible parties. The experienced Burien, Washington, bicycle accident attorneys at the Khan Law Firm are here and ready to help.

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WRONGFUL DEATH

Why Do Bicycle Accidents Happen?

Obviously, not every bicycle accident is the result of another person’s negligence. Many times, the bicyclist simply loses control of their own vehicle and crashes. So when we’re talking about bicycle accidents in the context of personal injury law, we typically mean collisions that occur at intersections or while riding in traffic. Some of the more common types of bicycle accidents we deal with at the Khan Law Firm include:

  • Failure to Stop or Yield – Bicycles are considered “vehicles,” which means bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as any car or truck driver state and local traffic laws. Motorists often ignore this, however, and may fail to yield to a bicyclist who legally has the right of way. For example, a motorist may drive through a stop sign, or briefly stop and proceed into the intersection without looking, and hit a bicyclist who had the right way.
  • Left Cross Accidents – This refers to a situation where a bicyclist and motorist approach the same intersection from opposite directions. The bicyclist intends to drive straight through the intersection, but the motorist executes a left-hand turn and hits the cyclist. Such accidents are typically the result of the motorist failing to keep a proper lookout or misjudging the bicyclist’s relative speed.
  • Right Hook Accidents – Bicycle accidents can also occur when a car or truck turns right at an intersection. This usually happens when the bicycle and motor vehicle are traveling in the same direction towards the same intersection. As with a left-cross accident, the car may pass the bicycle and turn right while the bicyclist continues to drive straight. Or perhaps the bicycle and car were both stopped at an intersection, and when the light turned green the motorist turned too quickly, cutting off and striking the bicyclist.
  • In-Traffic Accidents – Aside from intersection collisions, bicyclists may be seriously injured or killed when a car or truck drives too closely to their bicycle or pushes them into traffic.

It’s important to understand that regardless of the circumstances surrounding a bicycle accident, the bicyclist may be held partially responsible if they failed to follow the rules of the road themselves. Fortunately, Washington State follows a “pure comparative negligence” rule when it comes to personal injury cases. This means that while a judge may reduce a jury award to account for the percentage of fault attributed to the bicyclist, the negligent motorist is still responsible for the balance of the judgment. So hypothetically speaking, a bicyclist could be found 99 percent liable but still recover 1 percent of their total damages from the motorist.

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What Steps Should I Take Following a Bicycle Accident?

If you are an active bicyclist, you need to start thinking now about your contingency plan in the event of an accident. Obviously, you will likely be too disoriented or physically injured to think about these steps if and when an accident does occur. So here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Seek Immediate Medical Treatment – The biggest mistake most accident victims make is not going to the doctor to get checked out. Some people think they can just “walk off” an accident. Others are afraid of losing time off from work. But even if you don’t think you sustained a serious injury, it is always in your best interest to seek medical documentation of the accident itself.
  2. Keep Written Notes – Our memories degrade over time. And most of us do not have a photographic memory to begin with. This is why you should take detailed notes about the accident as close as possible to the event. Write down any detail that may be significant, such as the exact location of the accident, the make and model of the driver’s car, and the names and contact information for any witnesses at the scene. If possible, have you or someone you trust take pictures of your bicycle and the surrounding location.
  3. Notify Your Insurance Company – If you already have insurance for your motor vehicles, you may be covered for injuries sustained in a bicycle accident. For instance, in a “hit-and-run” accident, or a scenario where the negligent driver is known but lacks sufficient insurance, the uninsured/underinsured motorist provision of your policy may cover your damages.
  4. Contact a Bicycle Accident Lawyer in Burien – Even in cases where the negligent driver is insured and their insurance company agrees to pay for your damages, it is still a good idea to have a qualified attorney looking out for your best interests. 

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How an Attorney Can Help You Recover Damages

At the Khan Law Firm, we will work to make sure the insurance companies do right by you, and if they do not we are prepared to take your case to court. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation so we can learn more about your accident and how we can best help you.