More and more people are taking to commuting via their bicycles in order to curtail the environmental impact of vehicles or simply to enjoy the outdoors and exercise. These bicyclists must share the roads with other vehicles of all sizes, however, and too often, drivers of these vehicles fail to yield the right of way or give bicyclists the attention they’re due when they’re on the road.
If you were injured in a bicycle accident caused by someone else’s carelessness and negligence, you should immediately contact the Indiana personal injury attorneys at Custy Law Firm | Accident & Injury Lawyers. We can help you pursue the financial compensation you deserve.
There are various options for holding the party accountable for their reckless actions. We have experience investigating bicycle accidents and obtaining evidence that proves fault. When you hire us, we’ll aggressively fight to uphold your rights and recover the compensation you need.
To find out more about our services and your legal rights, schedule your free consultation with one of our Indiana bicycle accident lawyers by calling (219) 286-7361.
Why Do Bicycle Accidents Happen?
It’s no surprise that traffic accidents involving bicyclists are common. It’s often difficult for drivers to see a bicyclist, especially if they’re in a blind spot. Many motorists don’t pay attention to their surroundings or are unsure of the laws associated with bicyclists. They might not know when they’re supposed to yield. Others ignore the traffic laws altogether, and that could result in catastrophic injuries to the biker.
Many bicycle accidents are the result of the motor vehicle driver making a mistake. The most common causes of bicycle accidents include:
- Driver inattention, such as texting while driving
- Failure to yield
- Turning without checking for a bicyclist
- Passing too closely to the bicyclist
- Merging without checking blind spots
- Aggressive behavior
Despite bicyclists taking certain safety precautions, sometimes it can be impossible to prevent a bicycle accident. Even if they remain diligent on the road, they might cross paths with a driver who isn’t paying attention or is making some type of error behind the wheel.
The Dangers of Bicycles and Cars Sharing a Road
Cars are much larger and heavier than bicycles. They also come with built-in protection, such as airbags and seatbelts. Bicycles offer minimal protection to the rider. You have a helmet to protect your head from severe trauma, but that’s it. If you collide with a vehicle, you’ll probably suffer more harm than the driver or passenger.
If you get into a bicycle accident, you’ll likely sustain severe injuries. For many bicyclists, the crash is fatal, or they may succumb later to their fatal injuries. Because of the bicyclist’s exposure to all the elements around them, various injuries could result from an accident. These injuries may include:
- Concussion or traumatic brain injury
- Broken or fractured bones
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal bleeding and organ damage
- Road rash
- Lacerations and wounds
- Neck injuries
- Blunt force trauma
Severe injuries can cause permanent damage. A neck injury could lead to paralysis. A traumatic brain injury could result in a disability.
If you can’t recover from your injuries, you’ll need medical treatment for the rest of your life. Over time, medical bills add up, and your health insurance might not cover every doctor’s appointment. If you can’t afford ongoing care, it could affect the physical pain you experience and your daily routine. You deserve financial compensation from the at-fault party so you can cover all your medical costs and losses.
How Much Compensation Do I Deserve for My Bicycle Accident Injuries?
Your compensation will depend on various factors, including your total damages. Damages are losses an injured individual suffers after an accident. There are two types of damages you could pursue compensation for: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages are actual expenses, such as:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages and diminished earning capacity
- Out of pocket costs
Non-economic damages refer to the physical and emotional suffering endured, such as:
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
Economic damages are easy to calculate because they include some type of billing statement or invoice. However, it’s difficult to place a value on non-economic damages. A jury or insurance adjuster will review the following factors to determine how much compensation you deserve for your non-economic damages:
- Type and severity of the injury
- Duration of medically necessary treatment
- Lost wages due to the inability to work
- Total economic damages incurred
- Impact of the injury on daily life and relationships
- If there was a full recovery or permanent disability from the injury
- Availability of medical evidence
- Liability insurance available
All motorists in Indiana must carry auto insurance with limits of liability. They cover the cost of expenses related to bodily injury. Even though you were riding a bicycle at the time of the accident, you can still pursue compensation from the at-fault driver’s liability insurance company.
Custy Law Firm | Accident & Injury Lawyers will file an insurance claim on your behalf and submit the evidence we find that proves the driver was at fault. We will assertively negotiate a fair settlement that covers your total damages. If we’re unable to reach a settlement agreement with the insurance adjuster, we can file a lawsuit.
You can recover your economic and non-economic damages in a lawsuit as well. There’s also a third option known as punitive damages. A jury will rarely award punitive damages; however, there are special circumstances that could justify it. If there’s clear and sufficient evidence proving the other party’s actions were malicious, negligent, reckless, or egregious, and they lacked regard for your safety, you could win a financial award.
Is There a Deadline to File a Lawsuit?
Every state follows a statute of limitations for different types of accident cases. A statute of limitations is a strict deadline for injured parties to follow if they want to pursue compensation in a lawsuit. In Indiana, the statute of limitations is two years. That means you only have two years from the bicycle accident date to sue the negligent driver.
Even if the statute passed, you could still attempt to file suit against the driver; however, the judge will most likely dismiss your case. Two years might seem adequate, but you could run out of time if you begin preparing late. You should start working on your case immediately after the accident to ensure you have enough time to sue.
What You Should Do If the At-Fault Driver Doesn’t Have Insurance
If you suffered injuries in a bicycle accident and discover that the driver who caused it doesn’t carry auto insurance, you can file a claim with your insurance company. UM (uninsured motorist coverage) provides reimbursement for victims of accidents if the other party doesn’t hold liability coverage.
If you have UM insurance for your car, you can use it to cover your bicycle accident costs. Like liability insurance, there are state laws that require minimum limits for a UM policy. Depending on the damages you suffered, you might be entitled to compensation for the following:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
Another possible option is going through your PIP insurance. It’s not a legal requirement to carry this type of coverage, but insurance companies are supposed to offer it to their policyholders. PIP, personal injury protection, is available to victims of bicycle accidents if it’s included in their auto insurance policy.
PIP won’t cover non-economic damages, but you could receive an upfront payment for your medical treatment. If you provide your medical providers with your PIP information, they will submit your billing statements to your insurance company for payment. You typically won’t have to pay out of pocket for office visits, surgery, or other expenses as long as the limit on your policy is high enough.
Can I Handle My Case Alone?
Many people will try to handle their bicycle accident cases without the help of an Indiana bicycle accident lawyer. They think filing a claim will be a straightforward procedure, and they’ll save money in the process. Unfortunately, most injured victims that attempt to pursue their case alone end up with a denied insurance claim or a lower settlement than they deserve.
Custy Law Firm | Accident & Injury Lawyers has the experience, knowledge, and skills to pursue compensation in a case like yours effectively. We know the tricks insurance companies use to try to get claimants to settle for a minimal amount or intimidate them into dropping the claim entirely. We’re aggressive in our negotiation tactics and won’t back down until we recover the maximum settlement available.
We take cases on contingency, so you don’t have to worry about paying upfront costs. Unlike law firms that charge by the hour or for every task they complete, we don’t expect payment unless we win a financial award for our clients. We don’t get paid unless you get paid.
You deserve to seek justice for the suffering the at-fault driver caused. We’ll help you fight for the money they owe you. We know you’re struggling and in pain. It’s our goal to resolve your case efficiently so you can move forward and get back on your feet.
Our Indiana bicycle accident lawyers dedicate their time, attention, and resources to each client we work with. When you hire us, we’ll make you a priority. Our legal team is available 24/7, so you can reach us whenever you need us. You’ll never feel abandoned or ignored. You can depend on us to be there for you from the beginning of your case to the end.
To find out more about us or schedule a free consultation to discuss your bicycle accident in Indiana, call Custy Law Firm | Accident & Injury Lawyers today at (219) 286-7361.