Bicycle Injury Attorneys in Washington State
According to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, a large percentage of Washington residents walk and bike on a daily basis—not only as a means of recreation or exercise but as a method of commuting to work or getting to school. Between 2013 and 2017, walkers and bicyclists accounted for 18.6 percent of traffic fatalities and 22.5 percent of serious injuries in the state of Washington. In 2016 there were 17 bicycle fatalities—more than any other year over the past decade. Many Washington pedestrian and bicycle fatalities involve a distracted driver, and 70 percent of bicyclists who were killed in a collision were in an area where the posted speed was 30 mph or higher.
The Vulnerability of Bicyclists
The fear of colliding with an automobile is perhaps the single greatest barrier preventing more people from riding bicycles. Many bicyclists feel extremely vulnerable when riding in traffic—and with good reason. The bicyclist, like a motorcyclist, has little to no protection in the event of an accident. The bicyclist may or may not be wearing a helmet, leaving them wholly unprotected. Those in a passenger vehicle, on the other hand, are surrounded by a steel and glass “cage,” and have safety belts, airbags, and other safety features. Drivers may fail to see a bicyclist or may be distracted, impaired, or driving recklessly.
Even when bicyclists are super-conscious of safety issues, obey all traffic laws, are alert and aware of their surroundings, and take every single precaution, they can still end up being the victim of a collision. Because of the lack of protection, a bicyclist’s injuries can be catastrophic, requiring months, years, or a lifetime of surgical procedures and rehabilitative therapies. Bicyclists involved in an accident with a passenger vehicle may be unable to return to work for a period of time, or may never be able to return to work, leaving them facing astronomical medical expenses as well as unable to pay their normal monthly expenses.
Getting Medical Attention
If you have been hit by a vehicle, you should always be checked out medically, even if you believe you are “okay.” In many cases, the rush of adrenaline which occurs during an accident keeps you from realizing you have injuries, possibly even serious injuries. A relatively minor injury can change to a serious or permanent injury later on, when it is too late to identify the negligent driver. If you are medically able, take photos of the scene of the accident and if there are any witnesses to the accident, get names and contact information.
Obtain the same information from the driver who hit you but includes insurance information and the license plate number. If the driver who hit you left the scene of the accident, do your best to remember any detail about the vehicle or the driver, and write the information down as soon as you are able. Bicyclists who are hit by a vehicle may have broken bones and fractures, traumatic brain injury, neck and back injuries, including paralysis, and internal organ damage.
Getting the Help You Need from Palace Law
Those injured in a bicycle accident need serious legal assistance. The attorneys at Palace Law have successfully represented Washington bicyclists injured by negligent drivers. We handle every aspect of the case, from start to finish, working hard on behalf of the injured bicyclist to obtain just compensation. Bicycle accidents have the potential to become extremely complex, and our attorneys are highly skilled in making sure every step is properly followed after your bicycle accident, including gathering witness statements and other crucial evidence. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your bicycle accident, we may do one or more of the following:
- Investigate the driving history of the driver who hit you;
- Photograph the scene of the accident;
- Recreate the scene of the accident when necessary;
- Talk to witnesses;
- Obtain your police report and review it carefully;
- Analyze your medical records to successfully prove your injuries, and
- Inspect and document the damages to your bicycle.
Product Liability or Negligence?
There are often conflicting stories following a bicycle accident—after all, it is rare that anyone is anxious to take responsibility for an accident. When evidence is correctly presented, the negligent party is usually revealed. An experienced bicycle accident attorney will determine who had the right-of-way and whether the driver breached his or her responsibility to drive with care and obey all traffic laws. In order to prove negligence, it must be shown that the driver failed to drive reasonably and safely, thus breaching his or her duty to other motorists, bicyclists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians. It must then be shown that the breach of duty on the part of the driver caused the accident and that the injuries sustained were directly related to the accident.
In some instances, it was not the negligence of a driver which caused the accident, rather a bicycle part or the bicycle itself was manufactured in a defective manner. In this case, the bicyclist could have a claim against the manufacturer, after the bicycle accident attorney proves the bicycle or bicycle part was unreasonably dangerous, whether due to a flawed design or a manufacturing defect.
Factors Involved in Bicycle Accidents
Those involved in a bicycle accident are likely the victim of a passenger vehicle driver doing one of the following:
- Switching lanes improperly;
- Failing to obey the basic rules of the road;
- Failing to allow the bicyclist sufficient space;
- Failing to look before backing out of a driveway or parking space;
- Opening a car door into the street prior to checking for bicyclists or motorcyclists;
- Turning illegally;
- Running traffic lights or stop signs;
- Making improper left-hand turns;
- Driving reckless or aggressively, and
- Distracted driving.
Can a Washington Personal Injury Attorney Change the Outcome of My Bicycle Accident?
If you have been involved in a bicycle accident, the eventual outcome of that accident can be significantly impacted by speaking to an attorney from Palace Law. We will aggressively fight on your behalf to ensure you are not left injured, with medical bills and unable to work and make a living. At Palace Law, our attorneys have more than 200 years of collective legal experience in personal injury claims. We offer exemplary representation to our clients because we truly care about their future. Contact a Palace Law Attorney in Tacoma today for a comprehensive evaluation of your bicycle accident claim.