Spokane Bicycle Accident Attorney
Bikes offer convenient and affordable transportation. They’re an excellent means of exercise and recreation for thousands. In Spokane, there are quite a few bike riders who commute to work or ride for pleasure. These bike riders interact with daily traffic and must obey the same traffic laws as automobiles. Even when they do, auto-bike accidents sometimes happen.
Even the most mindful biker can suffer serious injury due to the carelessness of those who are behind the wheel. Bikes are at a disadvantage based on visibility and mere size. All drivers have the responsibility to be alert and aware of everyone on the road. Ignorance about bicycle laws will not lessen the culpability of the at-fault person if a bicyclist is injured.
Do You Have Grounds for an Injury Lawsuit?
For an injured bicyclist to have grounds for a lawsuit, they must be able to prove the driver of the vehicle was wholly or partially responsible for causing the accident. To make a bicycle accident claim, the injured victim will need to prove that:
- The driver of the car or truck had a duty to drive safely
- The driver of the car or truck breached that duty
- The bicycle rider was injured or harmed
- That the breach of duty was the proximate cause of the bicycle riders injuries or damages
Aside from motorists, cyclists can encounter other dangers. The government has a duty to maintain the areas traveled by bikes and could be responsible if you’re injured due to an uneven or bumpy bike path. Even private property owners who invite bicyclists to ride through their properties have a duty to maintain a safe riding area. A good example is keeping speed bumps painted yellow as a warning to riders. It’s important to consult a knowledgeable attorney to determine what rights you may have and who could be liable for your injuries following a biking accident.
When Cars and Bikes Crash It’s Typically the Motorists’ Fault
As cyclists, we hear motorists blame us for the way cyclists ride recklessly and flagrantly on the roads. Motorists often don’t respect cyclists. I’m not sure why—maybe because they feel they’re in the superior vehicle or that bikes are in their way and should not be on the road.
Many times, drivers and their insurance companies will try to blame the bicyclist for causing an accident—especially if the accident was serious. You shouldn’t let the insurance company intimidate you into thinking that the accident was your fault. Instead, you should avoid giving a statement about the accident until after you’ve had the chance to consult a lawyer. Contact Spokane Personal Injury Attorney Robert Hahn for compassionate and experienced help.
Washington State Bicycle Laws
A bicycle is a legal road vehicle, just like a car. This means that bicycle riders have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers. When riding on a roadway, a cyclist has all the rights and responsibilities of a vehicle driver. Cyclists may ride side by side, but not more than two abreast. Cyclists may choose to ride on the path, bike lane, shoulder or travel lane as suits their safety needs.
Product Liability Claim
If a defect in the product contributed to the accident, you may have a product liability claim against the manufacturer. In a negligence claim against a product manufacturer, your attorney will have to show:
- The defective bicycle or part was unreasonably dangerous
- The bicycle was being operated as the manufacturer intended
- The bicycle’s performance had not changed since its initial purchase.
Successful liability claims will require proof that the defect originated in the manufacturing process, and could require the testimony and analysis of experts.
Steps Bicyclist Should Take After an Accident
If you’ve been involved in a bicycle accident it’s important to follow some basic steps in the minutes and days following the incident.
1. Evaluate Your Injuries
Get immediate medical attention, even in instances when the injuries seem minor. Serious injuries may not be readily apparent immediately following a collision, so undergoing an evaluation is a smart move.
2. Do Not Implicate Yourself
Don’t assume you’re to blame. Avoid discussing fault when going over the facts with the the driver of the vehicle. Even if you believe the accident is your fault, don’t volunteer to take the blame, agree to pay for damages, or sign any statement that assigns blame without being advised to do so by an experienced personal injury attorney.
3. Exchange Insurance and Contact Information
Exchange contact and insurance information with the driver. If you’re unable to write information down, use your phone to take pictures.
- Full name, date of birth, address, phone number(s), email address, driver’s license number, and place of employment
- Vehicle make, model, color, and license plate number
- Insurance company and policy number
4. Document Your Experience
If possible take photos and video of the scene and any vehicles involved. Document and photo any skid marks and final resting places of vehicle. Video on cell phones works excellent at recording this information, including sounds. Obtain the names of all witnesses and talk to them about their observations, and get their contact information. You should also contact the authorities and request a copy of the police report, once it’s available.
Keep a daily journal of any injuries and the impact they have had on your day-to-day life. Because It’s possible for a trial to take place 2-3 years after an accident, it’s important to document what you’ve gone through after the accident. A daily journal can be very useful if your case were to ever go in front of a jury. Keep copies of all your photos and videos in a safe and secure location.
5. Track Expenses
Any expenses related to your injury should be closely tracked and documented in the days and weeks following the incident. This includes medical bills, cost of prescriptions, lost work hours/wages, transportation costs, etc.
6. Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
If you’ve suffered personal injury due to an auto-bike accident, it’s recommended that you contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Once you get in touch with your lawyer, you’ll need to provide him with all the information and evidence you’ve gathered. This will aid the attorney in evaluating your claim and help him to begin work on the case more quickly. The sooner you get in touch with an attorney, the sooner they can begin the process of formally filing a claim. For compassionate and experienced representation call Robert Hahn at 509-921-9500.
Insurance Companies Are Not on Your Side
Most insurance adjusters will contact an accident victim within 24 hours of the accident. They know victims are most vulnerable in the immediate aftermath of an accident and more likely to provide a statement that may jeopardize the outcome of their claim. It’s best to provide the insurance adjusters with only your basic contact information.
Do NOT give any statements to an insurance company or investigator retained by another party or insurance carrier. Insurance companies are not on your side and will look for any opportunity to devalue or deny your claim. Before speaking to a representative from an insurance company you should consult with a personal injury attorney.
To learn more about insurance companies read our 8 Things Your Should Know About Insurance Companies post.
We Can Help
Throughout my 20 years of practice, I’ve represented many victims of bicycle accidents, everything from simple unpainted speed bump cases to cyclists that have sadly lost their life in an auto vs. bicycle collision. As a longtime personal injury attorney in Spokane, I understand the financial burden that a bicycle accident can cause riders and their families. If you or someone you love, has suffered a serious or fatal injury in a bicycle accident call us at 509-921-9500 or submit out free no-obligation consultation form.