Bicycling is a popular pastime in the state of Colorado, especially with so many scenic roads to enjoy. However, automobiles must share the roads with cyclists and both must obey the rules of the road, or tragedy can result, as cyclists have very little protection against injury in a car vs. bicycle crash. If you have been injured in a bicycle accident due to the negligence of a motorist, a Fort Collins bicycle accident lawyer may be able to help.
Working with a personal injury lawyer following a bicycle accident has various potential benefits. Legal counsel will investigate the crash, determine the identity of all potentially liable parties, document medical expenses, and evaluate other losses that you may have sustained as a result of your injuries. With a reliable legal advocate on your side, you may be able to obtain compensation from the parties responsible for causing your accident.
Liability in Bicycle Accident Claims
An injured victim of a bike crash might be able to file a personal injury claim against the negligent party who caused it. Legal negligence is defined as careless or reckless behavior that disregards the safety of others. Various parties may be negligent or financially liable for bicycle accidents, including:
- Drivers of motor vehicles, including, cars, trucks, and buses
- Designers, manufacturers, and distributors of a defective bicycle
- Government bodies that are responsible for maintaining roadways and traffic signs
- Mechanics who failed to repair bicycles or vehicles properly
Even if a cyclist is found partially at fault for an accident in which they suffer injuries, they may still be able to recover damages. Colorado law allows injured parties to recover damages in an amount reduced by their share of fault for an accident. Because this system—known as comparative negligence—can be complicated, it may be wise to talk to a Fort Collins bicycle accident attorney to assess the viability of a potential claim.
Damages in Fort Collins Bicycle Accidents
Injured cyclists may be able to recover compensation for various economic and non-economic damages depending on the circumstances. Sources of coverage and compensation may include the at-fault driver’s liability insurance or the cyclist’s own Medical Payments (Med Pay) insurance or uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM) insurance.
Economic damages include medical bills, rehabilitation and therapy expenses, surgical or hospitalization costs, and loss of income both current and future if the victim can no longer work. Non-economic damages include compensation for pain and suffering, emotional trauma, and loss of enjoyment of life. When drivers who are impaired by alcohol or drugs, distracted by cell phones, or not paying attention to nearby cyclists cause accidents leading to injuries, they may be liable for punitive damages.
Unfortunately, injured bicyclists do not always get a fair shake after they are struck by a motor vehicle. Many drivers incorrectly feel that bicyclists disregard traffic rules and slow down traffic, and this attitude is sometimes shared by law enforcement personnel. Consequently, accidents in Fort Collins should be swiftly and thoroughly investigated by a seasoned bike wreck lawyer so that accurate evidence can be collected and legally documented.
It is also important to note that injury victims have a limited timeframe following bicycle accidents in which to file their claims. Specifically, Colorado state law only allows three years to file a claim against a negligent automobile driver after they cause injuries. Claims involving non-automobile defendants or governmental entities have shorter timeframes, so it is essential to promptly contact legal counsel in these cases.
Work with a Fort Collins Bicycle Collision Attorney
In order to be certain your bases are covered and that you can recover any medical bills, lost wages, and other damages you suffered, it is imperative to have a knowledgeable Fort Collins bicycle accident lawyer on your side. Getting legal advice may be instrumental in meeting relevant deadlines and requirements to file a personal injury claim, so call Mac Hester Law today to schedule your initial consultation.