Fort Collins Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Accidents involving bicyclists can cause serious and life-altering injuries. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 818 bicyclists died in accidents involving motor vehicles in 2015. Though they make up the minority of car accidents, the consequences are long-ranging and often dire. If you or a loved one suffered harm in a bicycle accident, an attorney can hold the responsible parties accountable. Contact a Fort Collins bicycle accident attorney from Cannon Hadfield Stieben & Doutt, LLC, today to schedule a free review of your legal options.
Colorado Bicycle Accident Resources:
- Why do I need a bicycle accident attorney?
- What is the Colorado Bicycle Safety Act?
- What should I do if I am involved in a bicycle accident?
- What are the common injuries sustained in bicycle accidents?
- Who is liable in a Colorado bicycle accident?
- What are the competitive negligence laws in Colorado?
Why Do You Need a Bicycle Accident Attorney?
All drivers owe a duty of care to other cars, bicyclists, and pedestrians on the road. Generally, a motorist’s duty of care is higher for bicyclists because of the higher potential for serious injury. Accidents involving bikes can involve high claim amounts, as bikers are more likely to sustain high medical bills, longer recoveries, and more time from work to recuperate.
Unfortunately, insurance companies often employ tactics to avoid paying out claims – and when they do pay, they typically settle for as little as possible. Having an attorney helps victims of bike accidents achieve full and fair compensation for their injuries, pain, and suffering.
Families like yours choose our Fort Collins bicycle accident attorneys because:
- We prepare every case as if it’s going to trial. We negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf to assure maximum compensation for your injuries but will also litigate your case if it becomes necessary.
- We take a tailored approach to your case. We know your situation isn’t “one-size-fits-all,” and work with you to establish goals for your claim.
- We offer our services on a contingency-fee basis, which means you won’t owe any attorney’s fees unless we secure a settlement or court judgment for you.
Colorado Bicycle Safety Act
The Colorado Bicycle Safety Act went into effect in August 2009, to help clarify the relationship between cyclist and motorist on the road. The responsibilities of both are:
- Motorists must allow at least three feet of space when passing a bicyclist
- Bicyclist riding side by side should move into a single file when motorists approach
- Bicyclists are permitted to riding as far right in the right-hand lane as possible
- Motorists are not to threaten, crowd, swerve at or throw things at bicyclist
What to do if Involved in a Bicycle Accident
Unfortunately, bicycle accidents happen all too often. The lack of protection and the closeness to high speed vehicles makes biking a very dangerous mode of transportation. If you’ve been involved in a bicycle accident, there are a few things you should do immediately after the fact in order to protect yourself in the future.
- Call the police
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible
- Get information from the driver involved in the collision
- Get contact information from any witnesses
- Take photographs of the scene and any injuries
- Keep any damaged clothing and bike parts
- Contact a bicycle accident attorney
Common Injuries in Bicycle Accidents
Bicycle accidents can lead to debilitating and long-term injuries. Some of the most commonly reported afflictions include the following:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Even when wearing a helmet, contact with a motor vehicle can cause serious head trauma. Often these injuries require specialized treatment and long-term follow up care.
- Spinal cord injury. Victims of these life-altering injuries may experience quadriplegia or paraplegia, sensory problems, motor issues, and other permanent effects.
- Broken bones. Bicyclists often report fractures to their arms, wrists, and hands from reflexively attempting to break a fall. Additionally, they may sustain broken collarbones from flipping over a bike’s handlebars.
- Road rash. In some cases, such as when a vehicle strikes a bicycle, a cyclist may incur a serious injury called road rash. Depending on the severity, treatment may require surgery or skin grafting.
Liability in Fort Collins Bicycle Accidents
Determining liability in a bike accident functions much like a crash involving two cars. Under the Colorado tort system, an injured bicyclist may file a claim for damages against an at-fault driver’s insurance company if:
- The driver owed a bicyclist a duty of care. Under Colorado law, bicyclists and cars have an obligation to “share the road,” which means they both must follow the rules and regulations that apply to the area.
- The driver violated his or her duty of care, committing negligence. Generally, negligence arises in a car accident when a driver fails to yield the right of way or breaks some other traffic law that applies to a cyclist.
- The driver’s negligence proximally caused the bicyclists injuries.
- The bicyclist suffered harm as a result. Examples of harm include medical bills, lost wages from missed work, and intangible losses such as pain and suffering.
Competitive Negligence Laws in Colorado
Colorado law follows modified comparative negligence laws, meaning that an injured bicyclist may only recover damages in an accident case provided they are less than 50 percent at fault for the accident. An injured bicyclist’s damages may also be reduced if he or she caused or contributed to the accident in any way. Acts like riding outside of the designated bike lane, riding on a highway or freeway, swerving into oncoming traffic, or stopping in oncoming traffic are just a number of ways a bicycle rider can contribute to an accident.
Contact a Fort Collins Bicycle Accident Attorney
Bicycle accidents require the guidance of an experienced attorney. If you or a loved one recently suffered harm in a bicycle accident, contact the Fort Collins personal injury attorneys at Cannon Hadfield Stieben & Doutt, LLC, to schedule a free review of your legal options. We help families like yours gain maximum compensation for their material and immaterial losses.