Bend Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Bicyclists are completely unprotected and vulnerable to serious injuries in a crash with a motor vehicle. If you have been hurt in a bicycle accident that was someone else’s fault, contact the Bend personal injury lawyers at Paulson Coletti Trial Attorneys PC right away. We are committed to holding careless motorists accountable for injuries they have caused to bicyclists.
Why Choose Our Firm?
- We are a boutique law firm that can give your case the personal attention it deserves.
- Our trial lawyers have a successful track record in recovering compensation for our clients.
- Our attorneys have more than 50 years of combined experience.
Bicycle Accident Statistics
The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) reports the following facts for 2016:
- 847 bicycle crashes resulting in injury occurred statewide.
- 11 of these bicycle accidents were fatal.
- 836 caused nonfatal injuries.
Nationwide, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports:
- 840 bicyclists killed in traffic crashes in 2016.
- 45,000 bicyclists injured in 2015, the most recent year for which injury statistics are available.
Common Types of Bicycle Accidents
Many bicycle accidents are caused by distracted or negligent drivers. Common types of crashes include:
- Side-swipes: These accidents occur when a motorist does not allow enough room for the bicyclist while passing.
- Dooring: Bicyclists are frequently injured when motorists open car doors directly in their path. This type of crash is more common on busy streets with heavy traffic that forces cyclists closer to parked cars.
- Rear-end collisions: Drivers who rear-end bicyclists are generally distracted and/or following too closely.
- Left-cross and right-cross crashes: This type of accident occurs when a vehicle turning left or right crosses into the path of a bicyclist at an intersection. In many cases, drivers simply fail to register the bicycle in the roadway until it is too late.
Common Injuries in Bicycle Accidents
Bicyclists are vulnerable to serious injuries in a crash. Common injuries in bicycle accidents include:
- Head and neck injuries
- Brain injury
- Fractured clavicle
- Broken legs
- Fractured hands and elbows
- Dental and jaw injuries
- Dislocated joints
Who Is Liable?
In the state of Oregon, the same laws for establishing liability apply to bicycles and cars. Whichever driver or operator was negligent and caused the accident is liable for damages. Under Oregon’s modified comparative negligence laws, if someone else caused the accident, your award for damages may be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you. For example, if your damages amounted to $100,000 and you were found to be 20% to blame for the accident, your award would be reduced to $80,000.
Why You Need a Lawyer
If a negligent driver caused your bicycle accident and injuries, that party’s insurance company will try to assign as much fault for the accident as possible to you in an effort to reduce the payout. It is in your best interests to have an experienced bicycle accident attorney by your side, who can determine and establish cause and liability, negotiate skillfully with insurance companies on your behalf, and fight aggressively for your rights in court, if necessary.
What to do if you are in a Bend bicycle accident?
The most important thing you can do after a Bend bicycle accident is to seek medical attention for your injuries. If your injuries are serious, make sure EMS is called to the scene, and you get to the emergency room as soon as possible.
Even if you have minor injuries or you do not feel any pain, you still need to seek medical assistance. After a bicycle accident, our bodies have a rush of adrenaline that could keep up from feeling the full extent of any injuries. Let a doctor properly examine and diagnose you after a crash. As you can see from the statistics above, nearly every bicycle accident results in an injury or a fatality.
Medical attention is vitally important for your case
We stress the importance of seeking medical attention and doing it quickly for a few reasons. First, your health is what matters the most after a bicycle accident. Early treatment will lead to a better long-term outcome for you. Second, medical treatment helps to establish that your injuries happened due to the bicycle crash.
The last thing you want is an insurance adjuster claiming that your injuries did not happen due to the bike crash. However, they will try to do this if you wait days or weeks to seek medical care. They could try to claim you were never injured from the crash and that any injuries you do have came from something else or a preexisting condition.
Insurance companies are not your friends, and they will do anything possible to lower the amount of money they make in a settlement.
Continue all treatment recommended by your doctor
It is just as important to follow your doctor’s orders after a crash. This includes going to all follow-up visits and going to any rehabilitation or physical therapy your doctor recommends.
Why is this important?
This is important because it shows the insurance adjusters (or a potential jury) the seriousness of your injuries. If you do not take your treatment seriously, neither will anyone else. By discontinuing medical treatment after a bicycle accident, you risk lowering the amount of compensation you will ultimately receive.
Gather as much evidence as possible at the scene
If you are not badly injured, you can gather information at the scene of the crash. Use your phone or any other available camera to take photographs of everything: damage to the bike and vehicle, any injuries you sustained, traffic and weather conditions, the cause of the accident, etc.
If there were eyewitnesses to the crash, try to get their names and contact information. Their statements could really help you prove the other driver’s negligence in your case.
Never negotiate with a driver at the scene of the crash
After a bicycle crash, the negligent driver may try to negotiate with you because they do not want to report the incident to their insurance company. They may offer you cash or the promise of paying in the future, as long as you do not call the police or report the incident to their insurance.
DO NOT DO THIS.
While it can be tempting to take their money, you likely will not see a dime. If you leave the scene without the police coming and making an official report, you are making it incredibly difficult to prove your case. Chances are, the driver will not pay you for your injuries or damages, and you are going to have a hard time making a personal injury claim without an official accident report.
Ensure the accuracy of the police report
Make sure the police come to your bicycle crash scene so they can complete an official accident report. In the aftermath of a bicycle crash, the police will investigate the incident, gather everyone’s information, and make an initial determination as to who was at fault. The police officer may issue a citation to the driver if they were determined to be at fault. All of this information will be important for an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit. Make sure you know how to obtain an official copy of the report. When you do obtain a copy, make sure it is accurate. If you were not on the scene when police arrived because you were taken to the hospital, the report may be one-sided (because the driver was the only one there).
Do not repair your bike or throw it away
Make sure you get the crashed bicycle. Do not throw it away or have it repaired. This is important. Your wrecked bicycle can be used as evidence in your case.
Do not talk to the driver’s insurance company before speaking with an attorney
Soon after a crash is reported to the insurance companies, you will likely get a call from the at-fault driver’s claims adjuster. They are going to want to record your statement about the events that took place. This is where you need to politely tell them you do not wish to be recorded and that you would like to speak with an attorney before talking to them. The adjuster may insist you make a statement. They may even tell you that you are legally obligated to do so. Do not listen. Politely tell them you are contacting an attorney.
Your attorney will be the one to handle all communications with the insurance companies and other parties involved. As we mentioned, insurance companies are looking to lower the settlement amount and will use anything you say against you.
Stay off of social media while your case is ongoing
It can be tempting to post about your bicycle crash and injuries online. After all, most of us are used to using social media for major announcements. However, you need to know that insurance companies will use your social media posts against you as well. Even if your posts are set to private, can you be sure your friends and family will not share your post? Insurance adjusters are certainly smart enough to find your online statements. If what you are saying online does not match what the official reports say or what you have told them, you can be sure they will offer a lower settlement. They may even deny your claim.
What type of compensation could I be entitled to after a Bend bicycle accident?
One of the most common questions people have after a bicycle accident is – What kind of compensation can I expect to receive?
If someone else’s negligent or careless actions caused your injuries, you should not have to worry about being in financial trouble. Some of the compensation you could be entitled to includes:
- Coverage of medical expenses related to the crash
- Coverage for long-term care and rehabilitation
- Recovery of lost wages if you are unable to work
- Pain and suffering damages
- Loss of enjoyment of life damages
- Possible punitive damages against the negligent party
These damages can be difficult to calculate, especially ones that are subjective. An attorney will work to prove each of these in your case in order to secure the maximum compensation.
Connect with Paulson Coletti Trial Attorneys PC
Our attorneys have a reputation for recovering substantial compensation for our clients. If you have been injured in a bicycle accident caused by the negligence of another, call Paulson Coletti Trial Attorneys PC as soon as possible. We can help you pursue the full and fair compensation you deserve.