Bicyclists and drivers must share the road. However, bicyclists face a much higher risk of injury in the event of a collision with a car or truck. Sometimes, an insurer may contend that the bicyclist was at fault for his or her own injuries. To protect your rights, consult the seasoned Seattle bicycle accident attorneys of Blair & Kim before providing a statement to the driver’s insurer. We provide a case evaluation to persons injured in bicycle accidents.Bicycle Accidents
Cyclists injured in serious accidents may have to deal with significant medical expenses to treat their broken bones, concussion, road rash or other conditions. To obtain monetary compensation from an at-fault driver, you must show by a preponderance of evidence that (1) the driver was obliged to exercise a duty of reasonable care towards you, (2) he departed from the duty to use reasonable care, (3) the departure caused your injuries, and (4) you suffered damages as a result. A preponderance of evidence means that you can demonstrate that a claim is more likely true than not.
Drivers may breach their duty to use reasonable care when they speed, fail to pay close enough attention to a bicyclist, fail to yield, drive recklessly or drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. An experienced bicycle accident attorney in Seattle can review your case and evaluate the strength of your claim.Comparative Negligence
An insurance adjustor for an at-fault driver may try to avoid paying anything to an injured bicyclist even when liability seems clear. Sometimes adjustors try to get a bicyclist to admit fault or to minimize the severity of a bicyclist’s injuries.
Washington follows the principle of pure comparative negligence, meaning that the jury will assess the damages and assign a percentage of fault to each party involved. The damages you may be entitled to recover will be reduced by an amount equal to your percentage of fault. For instance, if you sustained $100,000 in damages but are 40% at fault, a driver who is 60% responsible for the accident will only be responsible for $60,000. You must absorb $40,000 of your own losses.
Bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as those driving vehicles under Revised Code of Washington 46.61.755. They must also follow any applicable Seattle ordinances. They may not carry more people than the bicycle design intends, with the exception of little children who are securely attached. Cyclists also may not ride more than two abreast on the road and must use bike lanes when available. Bicycles should be equipped with a white front light that can be seen from 500 feet away, as well as a rear reflector. A Seattle bicycle accident lawyer can explain whether your failure to abide by the applicable rules and laws may be used as evidence of your comparative negligence. For instance, if you were bicycling at night without a white front light on your bicycle and a driver struck you at an uncontrolled intersection because you were not visible, you may be found partially or fully to blame for your own injuries.Damages
Once you are able to establish a driver’s liability for your injuries in a bicycle accident, you may be able to obtain compensatory damages, which are intended to put you back in the position you would have been in had no accident occurred. This amount covers both economic and noneconomic losses. Economic losses are concrete, documentable losses that include lost income, medical bills, replacement services, and out-of-pocket expenses. Noneconomic losses are intangible losses that may be difficult to quantify such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of consortium, and loss of enjoyment of life.Retain a Knowledgeable Seattle Lawyer
Bicycle accidents can result in catastrophic damages when a car or truck collides with the cyclist. There is nothing to protect a bicyclist from the full force of a collision. At Blair & Kim, our bicycle accident lawyers in Seattle can discuss the viability of a lawsuit to seek damages for your injuries. We may be able to help you. Call us at (206) 622-6562 or contact us through our online form.