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Seattle Bicycle Accident Lawyer

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SEATTLE BICYCLE ACCIDENT LAWYER

Bicycling is becoming more popular in Seattle, as more people strive to protect the earth, improve their health, and save on gas money, and the city of Seattle does more to improve bike infrastructure and cycling safety. Unfortunately, there is a direct correlation between the number of bicyclists on the road and the number of bicycle accidents – as one increases, so often does the other. If you have been in a bicycle accident in Seattle and are wondering what you can do to recover the money that you need to pay for your damages, the team at the Khan Law Firm is only a phone call away.

Types of Bicycle Accidents

Bicycle accidents occur in a variety of different manners, and a variety of different reasons. Some of the most common types of bicycle accidents include:

  • The left cross – The left cross bicycle accident occurs when the driver of a vehicle approaches the intersection at the same time as a cyclist, with the cyclist intending to travel straight through the intersection and the driver making a left hand turn. If the driver does not see the oncoming cyclist, or the driver incorrectly estimates the cyclist’s speed, the worst can happen: the driver turns directly into or in front of the cyclist, resulting in a crash.
  • The right hook – The right hook is similar to the left cross, in that it involves a cyclists who intends to travel straight, and a vehicle that intends to make a (right) turn. In this type of accident, the vehicle may be frustrated by the cyclist’s slow speed, and will therefore attempt to turn in front of the cyclist, thereby cutting the cyclist off and potentially causing an accident. The accident may also occur if the bicyclist is passing a car that is slowing down, but is doing so on the right hand side, and then that vehicle turns into the bike;
  • Stop sign accidents – Another type of bicycle accident is the accident that occurs at a stop sign. This may happen when:
    • A cyclist has a stop sign but a motorist does not. Not realizing this, the cyclist stops, but then proceeds directly into the path of an oncoming vehicle
    • The driver has a stop sign and the driver does not. After coming to a complete stop, the driver proceeds through the intersection without seeing the cyclist, leading to an accident.
    • Both or either party has a stop sign, but both or either fails to come to a complete stop.

Of course, these are not the only types of accidents involving bicycles that can occur. A car may also drive too closely to a cyclist from behind or the side, putting the cyclist in danger. Or, a cyclist may be pushed into traffic when a vehicle parked on the shoulder of the road where the cyclist is riding opens its doors.

OTHER PRACTICE AREAS

CAR ACCIDENTS

BICYCLE ACCIDENTS

BRAIN INJURIES

BUS ACCIDENTS

TRUCK ACCIDENTS

DRUNK DRIVING INJURIES

MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENTS

DOG BITES

WRONGFUL DEATH

CAUSES OF BICYCLE ACCIDENTS

The examples of types of bicycle accident above all have one thing in common: human error. In fact, nearly all bicycle accidents could be prevented if a greater degree of care were to be exercised when driving or biking. Bicycle accidents are more likely when a driver is:

  • Distracted;
  • Intoxicated;
  • Driving aggressively; or
  • Speeding.

While less common, some bicycle accidents may be caused because of a vehicle or bicycle defect. For example, the brakes on a vehicle may go out, leaving the driver of the vehicle – and the cyclist – helpless. Or, a bicycle’s tire may fall off while being ridden, creating a serious threat of injury for the cyclist.

When a Seattle bicycle accident happens, it is important to find out what caused the accident. For an injured cyclist, establishing fault of the responsible party (whether a manufacturer of a defective vehicle/bike or a negligent driver) will be a key aspect of getting the compensation that they deserve and paying for medical bills, lost wages, and noneconomic damages.

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What to Do After a Bike Accident

Being in a bicycle accident can be shocking, and you probably won’t be thinking clearly at the time that it happens. However, if you can commit a plan to memory now, you may be able to take actions that will be important to recovering compensation later on. Here are some things to do after a bicycle accident:

  • Write down what happened. You should write down every detail that you can remember about the accident as soon as possible, while the accident is still fresh in your mind.
  • Write down the names of anyone involved, including witnesses. Write down the name of the driver who hit you, as well as this driver’s license plate number, car make and model, license and registration information. You should also write down the names and contact information for any witnesses to the accident, as their testimonies may prove vital.
  • Report your bicycle accident to your insurance company. If you have car insurance, you should report the accident to your insurance company as you may be insured, despite the fact that you were riding your bike rather than driving. Further, your insurance company may be able to handle your claim against the other driver.
  • Get treated for your injuries. In some cases, getting treatment for your injuries will need to be the very first thing you do, and may impede your ability to write down what happened or talk to witnesses immediately. Getting treatment is the most important thing that you can do after an accident
  • Call a Seattle bicycle accident lawyer.Call a Seattle personal injury attorney as soon as possible after your crash, even if you are sure that the other driver’s insurance company will pay for your injuries. Having an attorney on your side improves your chances of a more successful claim outcome.

Bike Accident FAQ’s:

  • What is the average bicycle accident settlement? We receive this question a lot, and we understand why people ask it. Unfortunately, there is no “average” settlement amount. The terms of most bicycle accident settlements are kept private, so no one can collect all of the settlement information in Washington to calculate an average. In truth, the amount of compensation you receive will depend on the seriousness of your injuries and other factors, such as whether you are partially responsible for the crash. You can typically receive compensation for: Medical care, Lost wages, Damage to your bicycle, Pain and suffering. The first three should be self-explanatory. You can look at medical bills or receipts along with pay stubs to estimate the amount of money you have lost. There is wriggle room when it comes to pain and suffering and other intangible losses. For example, getting a big scar on your face might not cost a lot of money to treat medically, but it can cause severe emotional distress, often keeping you from socializing with people. You deserve compensation for these emotional harms.
  • How much time do I have to sue? Not long. Washington has a “statute of limitations” which lays out the maximum amount of time a victim has to bring a lawsuit in court. For a bicycle accident, you typically will have only three years, which starts from the date of the crash. We’ve had people tell us that 3 years is a long time. But it really isn’t. In addition to investigating your case, you might need to engage in settlement discussions, which can take several months. Before you know it, two years or more could have passed and before you know it you are pushing up against the deadline. You definitely do not want to file a lawsuit after the statute of limitations has expired because a judge will dismiss your case.
  • Do I really need an attorney to get compensation? Yes. A lawyer can absolutely help you. Many people think they can handle their own claim, initially believing that all they have to do is fill out a couple pieces of paper. In actuality, obtaining a settlement from an auto insurer is much more complicated than that. Insurance companies in Washington are not generous. They increase their bottom line by playing hardball and trying to get injured bicyclists to accept much less in compensation than they are probably owed. Insurance companies also have many tricks at their disposal to convince you that their first offer is the best that you can get. An experienced attorney knows better. We know that insurance companies can easily increase the amount of compensation they offer. We also know that we can sometimes get much more by filing a lawsuit and taking the defendant to court.
  • Can I receive compensation if a pedestrian caused my accident? It will be harder in that case for one simple reason: pedestrians do not have insurance, and it is a motorist’s insurance policy that will probably pay out compensation. Because a pedestrian is uninsured, you would have to sue them and get a court judgment, which they would then need to pay out of their personal assets. However, few people have tens of thousands of dollars sitting in a bank account, and it can be hard to seize and sell personal assets. For these reasons, many bicyclists can’t receive much compensation if a pedestrian injured them.
  • I didn’t use a turn signal when I was hit. Can I still receive compensation? Probably. Washington is a comparative fault state. This means that a victim can himself be negligent but still receive compensation, so long as someone else shares some responsibility for the crash. If a motorist was following too closely or made an aggressive turn in front of you, then they might also have been negligent, which means you can seek compensation from them. However, realize that if you were also negligent, the amount of compensation you receive will be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, you might have suffered $30,000 in damages but have been 40% responsible for the accident. In this situation, you will only receive 60% of $30,000, or $18,000.
  • Can I receive compensation if I wasn’t wearing a bicycle helmet? Choosing not to wear a helmet might qualify as negligence. As a result, you might have contributed to the severity of your injuries through your own choices, so you can expect to receive less in compensation. However, not wearing a helmet should not, by itself, prevent you from seeking compensation from the at-fault driver.

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How an Attorney Can Help You Recover Damages

An attorney can help you to recover damages by reconstructing your accident to determine fault and causation, proving negligence, talking to witnesses, working with experts, providing valuation damages, and negotiating with an insurance adjuster. At the Khan Law Firm, we won’t rest until we have exhausted all avenues to recovering every penny you deserve. Contact us now for a free case review.