Colorado Bicycle Accident Lawyer
In Colorado, bicycle accidents are a common cause of injury. In fact, 16 people died in bicycle accidents in the state in 2016, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation.
Bicyclists hurt in an accident that a negligent driver or other party caused often have grounds to file a claim. If you were hurt in a bicycle wreck, you will need to prove the other party was negligent and caused your injuries. But bicycle accidents are often plagued with arguments about fault, misunderstandings by drivers of bicyclists’ rights to the road, and other obstacles that add to the complexity of the case.
If you were injured in a bicycle/auto accident, you need someone on your side who understands your pain, as well as the applicable bicycle and traffic laws. The driver or the insurance company may try to pin the blame on you, sticking you with medical bills, lost wages, and more. But we work to get the evidence that establishes fault and liability so you can get the compensation and medical care you need and get back on your bike as quickly as possible. Call us at 719-471-1984 to set up a consultation.
What should I do after a bicycle accident?
First, always carry your cell phone while riding your bicycle. After an accident, get on the phone.
Second, get medical help and report the accident. If you were involved in an accident with a motor vehicle while riding your bike, make safety your first priority. Seek emergency medical attention and call the police to report the incident. If you left the scene without reporting the accident, do so now. And if you have not yet seen a doctor, do that right away too. Delaying reporting the accident or seeking medical care might harm your claim, as the insurance company might argue your injuries are not severe or are unrelated to the accident.
Third, start compiling evidence. If you are physically able, take photos of the scene while still at the scene, and collect contact information from the driver and any witnesses. Collect and preserve damaged parts of your bicycle as well as the clothing you were wearing. Bring photographs and eyewitness contact information to your lawyer.
Fourth, be careful of what you say. Do not admit fault at the scene, even if you think you contributed to the accident. Let the police investigate and cooperate with them. Do not give the insurance company a recorded statement. First, speak with your lawyer.
Who is responsible for my bicycle accident-related expenses?
Liability for your expenses depends on who was at fault for the accident. Determining and establishing fault starts by examining whether any party involved in the accident violated traffic laws. Colorado Revised Statutes § 42-4-1412 sets forth the state’s bicycle laws. State law provides that motorists must share the road with bicyclists and allow them the space they need to remain safe.
Unfortunately, many drivers are unaware of Colorado bicycle laws, which are very protective of cyclists. Some drivers may even believe that bicyclists who use the road are breaking the law even when they are not. For instance, many drivers are unaware of the following rules:
- Bicyclists can ride two abreast. The only time they cannot is when doing so impedes traffic, such as when there is no shoulder on the side of the road.
- Drivers must pass bicyclists on the left side and must allow three feet between their vehicle and the bicyclist. Drivers may even go across the double yellow line to safely pass the bicyclist.
But ignorance or disregard for bicycle-related traffic laws leads to many accidents. Some common scenarios that lead to bicycle crashes are:
- Drivers who fail to maintain a safe distance from the rider
- Drivers who pull out of driveways or parking spaces without checking for cyclists
- Drivers who suddenly open their car doors in the path of an oncoming bicyclist
- Drivers who turn in front of a cyclist’s path
- Drivers who do not respond bicyclists’ right to the road
Unsafe road conditions, improperly maintained roads, and poorly-marked parking lots may also contribute to a crash. In some cases, bicycle equipment manufacturers or repair shops might be to blame.
To establish fault and prove negligence, collecting evidence as quickly as possible can make or break your case. A Colorado bicycle accident lawyer at Sears & Associates P.C. will help you collect evidence, take witness statements, and investigate the relevant factors that led to your accident and injury.
Armed with this information, we can help you pursue compensation for your accident-related expenses and losses, such as:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages and reduced earning potential
- Property damage
- Permanent disability and disfigurement
- Pain and suffering
Can I recover compensation even if I contributed to the accident?
Yes. Per Colorado Revised Statutes § 13-21-111, you can recover compensation if your percentage of fault was less than that of the other party. However, it is important to note that your percentage of fault will decrease your potential settlement.
Colorado is a threshold state. In other words, if the plaintiff (injured party) is 50% or more negligent, the plaintiff receives no monies! If 49% or less, then the recovery is reduced by that percentage. So, for example, if the plaintiff is 33% negligent and the jury awarded $100,000, then the plaintiff will receive $66,000 as the $100,000 will be reduced by the plaintiff’s 33% negligence.
Thus, proving fault is essential not only to recover a settlement or obtain a favorable judgment, but to ensure you get a settlement or judgment that fully compensates you for your damages.
Choosing a Colorado Bicycle Accident Lawyer
The longer you wait to pursue your claim, the more evidence can be lost so act quickly.
With more than 40 years of experience, the personal injury attorneys at Sears & Associates, P.C. in Colorado Springs will help you get the evidence you need to prove liability, guide you through the legal process, and fight for the damages you need and deserve after a bicycle accident.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident in Colorado Springs, Vail, or anywhere in Colorado, contact the bicycle accident attorneys at Sears & Associates, P.C. We will help you to get back outdoors and on your bike. Call 719-471-1984 to set up a consultation about your case so we can get started.