Russell & Hill, PLLC

Cycling can be an invigorating way to get in some exercise while taking in the scenery around you. In the era of green-consciousness, more and more people opt to use their bicycles as a means of transportation rather than relying on passenger vehicles. Riding a bicycle does have many benefits, however, cyclists also face perils that other commuters do not. For example, someone on a bicycle does not have the same protection as someone in a car or truck if they are involved in an accident. While a passenger vehicle had a sturdy steel frame, seat belts, and airbags, a bicyclist typically has only a helmet to help keep them safe in a road collision. The consequences of another person’s negligence can be severe, ranging from major injuries to fatal injuries for the bicyclist. If you were hurt while cycling and want to discuss your legal options with a bicycle accident attorney in Seattle, call Russell & Hill, PLLC today to discuss your case.

There are a bevy of ways that a bicycle injury can occur, and each accident is unique. However, most bicyclists are usually injured when:

  • They are hit by a car, truck, or other vehicle.
  • They are struck by another bicyclist.
  • They are attacked by a dog.
  • They travel over a road defect such as a loose gravel or a pothole that causes a fall.
  • They are driving a bicycle that is defective by a design and injured as a result.

Tips for safer cycling

Although sadly it is not possible to prevent all accidents caused by someone else’s negligence, by following a few simple safety tips, you can help to do your part to ensure your next ride is a safer one:

  • Always use a helmet when you ride
  • Keep headlamps and reflectors clean to help you see others and to help others see you
  • Maintain your bicycle regularly—tighten loose bolts, check for functionality of headlights and tail lights
  • Ride in bicycle lanes where possible
  • Obey all traffic laws

If you are hurt in a bicycle crash

Being injured in a bicycle accident can be a physically painful and mentally jarring experience. The period directly after a bike crash can be confusing for accident victims. Here is what to do if you are hurt in a bicycle accident:

Get medical help first

Seek immediate medical attention after an accident, even if your injuries are not life-threatening. It is crucial to allow a trained medical professional to evaluate you after a bike crash.

Document the accident and your injuries

Document your injuries by taking photos of them and keep copies of medical bills and proof of any other accident-related expenses. Obtain the contact information of any witnesses to the accident if you can.

Contact a lawyer near you

Bring your documentation to a personal injury lawyer for review so you can discuss the details of your case and the process for filing a claim in civil court.

We are here to help injured cyclists

At Russell & Hill, PLLC, we specialize in personal injury litigation. If you need a bicycle accident injury attorney in Seattle, we can assist you with filing a claim. We provide our legal services to accident victims on a fee-contingency basis, meaning we do not charge a fee until your case has been favorably settled or won. We are committed to helping our clients get the compensation they deserve for their pain and suffering, and we can help you too. Contact us today for a no-cost case evaluation.

Are bicycle accidents common around Seattle?

Bicycling is a great way to get around, and Seattle has come a long way in improving bicyclist safety. Across Washington State, there were 1,386 total bicycle crashes during the latest reporting year. Out of those, there were:

  • 15 fatalities
  • 132 suspected serious injuries
  • 570 suspected minor injuries
  • 570 possible injuries

If we look at those numbers closely, we can see that nearly every bicycle crash results in an injury or a fatality.

Why are bicyclists so vulnerable?

There is simply no way for a bicyclist to compete with the force of a vehicle that weighs thousands of pounds. When a cyclist is struck, they typically suffer from two injury-causing impacts – one with the vehicle and one with the ground. Even slow-speed incidents can lead to major injuries.

It is not uncommon for us to see the following injuries as a result of a bicycle crash:

  • Spinal cord trauma
  • Head injuries/traumatic brain injuries
  • Internal organ damage or internal bleeding
  • Broken or dislocated bones
  • Severe lacerations or road rash

Where do bicycle accidents happen?

Bicycle crashes most commonly happen along the roadways due to driver inattention. Bicyclists are afforded the same rights and responsibilities on the roadways as vehicles. Drivers must give them the space necessary to operate. All too often we see bicycle crashes happen because a driver passed a cyclist too closely and struck them or ran them off the roadway.

We commonly see bicycle crashes take place at intersections, crosswalks, and other areas where they have the right-of-way.

Are helmets mandatory for bicyclists?

No, there are no laws mandating that bicyclists have to wear helmets in Washington or Seattle. Several municipalities in the state DO have helmet requirements for bicyclists.

I was wearing a helmet but still got hurt. Was the helmet defective?

If you or your child was wearing a helmet at the time of a crash and was still severely injured, you should know that many helmets on the market are defective. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has warned that Americans are buying many uncertified helmets. If you or a loved one have been injured due to a defective helmet, you may be eligible for compensation through a product liability case.

Will the at-fault driver’s insurance cover my expenses?

The at-fault driver is going to be responsible for covering your injury expenses up to the limits of their coverage. All drivers in Washington must have $25,000 in injury or death expenses for one person in a crash and $50,000 for total injuries or death to all people in a crash they cause. If the minimum coverage is not enough to cover your expenses, you may need to pursue compensation through a personal injury lawsuit in civil court.

Compensation in a bicycle accident claim may include all or some of the following:

  • Medical expenses. Seeking treatment for injuries sustained in a bicycle accident can cost an exorbitant sum, whether you visit a doctor or an ER room. Most generally, the expenses incurred as a result of treatment are compensable during the claims process. Even if your injuries were not serious, you can still be reimbursed for the costs of medical treatment related to your bicycle accident. All related medical costs are usually recovered in claims of this type, from doctor office visits to surgical procedures and physical therapy.
  • Lost income. If you missed work as a result of your bicycle accident, then you will likely be able to recover the lost wages for whatever time period your doctor deemed necessary for your recovery. Compensation is typically equal to whatever wages you would have made if you were not injured and unable to work as a result. If it is the case that you are no longer able to work due to your injuries, then you may be able to collect the amount of future lost wages as well. Further, if your employer terminates your employment due to you missing too much time because of your injuries, this may help you qualify for the loss of future income too.
  • Pain and suffering/mental anguish. Although more difficult to prove than actual financial damages in a bicycle accident claim, damages for pain and suffering and/or mental anguish may also be on the table. This type of compensation seeks to award you financially for the physical and emotional suffering that occurs due to your accident. This might be because you have developed anxiety and never ride your bike anymore as a result. Or maybe you were disfigured from your injuries and now you have difficulty feeling comfortable when you are out in society.
  • Property damage. Personal belongings that become damaged as a result of your bicycle accident can be compensable too. These may include a cell phone, your Apple watch, eyeglasses, backpack, helmet, and even your bicycle itself.

If you are struggling to get compensation or need some guidance, you can count on Russell & Hill, PLLC to be by your side. Our knowledgeable and experienced Seattle bicycle accident attorneys are ready to help. You can contact us for a free consultation by clicking here or calling 800-529-0842.

Terri Stevens via Google My Business
Date published: 2019-04-03
5 out of 5

Very courteous, professional……good firm! I Haven’t had any problems with any of the team. Highly recommend.

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