Home Law 5 Factors That Influence Compensation for Bicycle Injury Accidents

5 Factors That Influence Compensation for Bicycle Injury Accidents

by Louise W. Rice

According to a recent study by the CDC, roughly 1,000 cyclists died in crashes on U.S. roads every year–with many of these accidents happening in urban areas like Seattle.

This is something that concerns everyone as no one is safe from falling victim to said accidents–not even you or someone you love. That said, lawsuits to get reimbursement for injuries in bicycle accidents exist and often involve the same issues as auto accident lawsuits. But to get the most out of such a claim, hiring a Seattle bicycle accident attorney is critical.

While working with a seasoned attorney, you will learn that there are some issues that can make or break your claim for damages in such an accident–more so if you are a victim.

1. Negligence

Personal injury cases involving bicycle accidents are almost always centered on negligence. The victimized cyclist has to prove that the vehicle driver acted negligently, leading to the accident happening to them.

Negligence can take many forms in these cases. This includes running a red light, speeding, or moving into a cyclist’s lane. Still, drivers often defend themselves by claiming the cyclist was also at fault. They might say that the cyclist was riding in the wrong lane, turning abruptly into traffic, and ignoring traffic lights. If proven, a cyclist’s negligence in an accident will reduce the compensation they receive because of a legal concept called comparative negligence.

Therefore, if it’s established that the cyclist was partially liable for the accident, their damage award will be reduced by their share of liability. For example, if the cyclist were 40% responsible for the accident, their total damage award would be reduced by this percentage.

2. Extent of Injuries

When determining compensation, the court will evaluate the severity of the cyclist’s injuries. The evaluation is meant to determine whether the injury is permanent, how long it will take for the victim to recover, and whether future limitations will exist on the victim’s activities.

For example, if the cyclist suffers a knee injury, they must undergo surgery. If the doctor establishes that the injury affected the joints of the knee, there is a likelihood that this will contribute to post-traumatic arthritis.

As a result, the doctor will suggest different treatments, including knee replacement. Therefore, the victim’s compensation should consider the current medical costs, future treatment, and future requirements of the victim.

3. Lost Wages

If a bicycle accident causes cyclists to miss work, their damages will include lost wages. The lost wages will depend on how long the plaintiff misses work. For minor accidents, this may amount to a few weeks to one month’s wage.

However, if the cyclist is injured to the extent that they cannot return to work, they will be entitled to permanent disability benefits. Some injuries that can result in permanent disability benefits include traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, and paralysis.

4. Pain and Suffering

In bicycle accident cases, the cyclist can claim payment for their pain and suffering. This could either be physical or emotional pain and suffering. Physical pain and suffering refer to traumatic brain injury, paralysis, amputations, and broken bones. Emotional pain and suffering are psychological or mental distress. This includes insomnia, anxiety, embarrassment, and loss of enjoyment in cycling.

The amount of pain and suffering damages awarded to the victim of a bicycle accident will vary depending on various things, including the extent of their physical injuries, any lasting emotional or mental injuries, and how long they will take to return to their normal life. In most cases, pain and suffering can account for the largest portion of your compensation.

5. Insurance Coverage

One study shows that in 2019, 12.6% of licensed drivers in the U.S. either lacked insurance or had insufficient insurance to cater for accident damages. Therefore, regardless of how much damage a jury awards a cyclist, it all comes down to the at-fault driver’s insurance policy limits and assets. In most cases, an uninsured motorist has fewer assets to cater for the plaintiff’s damages.

If the motorist has insurance, their minimum liability coverage limits the plaintiff’s compensation. Most drivers only carry the minimum liability coverage for bodily injury and property damage. This only applies to minor damages.

If the cyclist is severely injured, minimum liability coverage will be insufficient to cover their expenses. In this case, the cyclist cannot take what is available. On the other hand, bicycle accident claims involving rideshare drivers and commercial trucks are much more rewarding because these vehicles have higher commercial liability limits.

Work with a Bicycle Injury Lawyer Today!

The experience of being hit and injured by a car is stressful while riding your bicycle is not something you want at any cost. So if you do get hit (here’s hoping you won’t), you must pursue a claim against the at-fault party–but only with expert legal assistance.

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