Indianapolis Bicycle Accident Attorney

Bicycle accidents often result in devastating injuries for those involved. Unfortunately, bicycle accidents are not uncommon in and around the Indianapolis area. At the Fountain Law Firm, we are here to help if you need an Indianapolis bicycle accident attorney by your side. The goal of the Fountain Law Firm is to thoroughly investigate these claims, determine liability, and help our clients recover the compensation they are entitled to.

Why Choose Us?

At Fountain Law Firm, you can count on receiving personalized attention for your case. We ensure that we understand your goals and needs as we move forward with your claim.

We have extensive experience handling complex injury claims throughout Indiana, and we understand the laws related to proving negligence and securing maximum compensation.

We are not afraid to take a case all the way to trial if that is what it takes to ensure that you are treated fairly and receive the compensation you need.

Learn More About Indiana’s Bicycle Accident Lawsuits and Where to Get Help:

How Can an Indianapolis Bicycle Accident Attorney Help?

Bicycle accident cases in Indianapolis can be challenging, particularly when it comes to determining liability. Most injury victims do not have the resources necessary to properly investigate their claim. However, an Indianapolis bicycle accident attorney can use their resources and legal expertise to:

Fully investigate the claim and uncover all evidence that can prove liability, including photos, eyewitness statements, police reports, etc.

Ensure their client is evaluated by a trusted medical professional who can treat their injuries and help calculate total expected losses.

Engage in negotiations with all parties involved in an attempt to reach a fair settlement on behalf of their client.

Indianapolis Bicycle Accident Statistics

Data available from the Indiana University Public Policy Institute shows that there were 744 accidents involving bicyclists reported during the latest year across the state. Out of these incidents, there were:

  • 14 fatalities
  • 218 incapacitating injuries
  • 328 non-incapacitating injuries

What Should I Do After a Bike Accident? 

Bike accidents can lead to serious injuries and be disorienting, so it’s no wonder that many people are confused about what to do in the aftermath of a bike accident. However, the steps you take immediately after a bike accident can significantly impact your recovery and legal claim. 

If possible, try to take these proactive steps:

  • Call 911 – Even if your injuries don’t seem severe at the moment, you have probably sustained injuries, so it’s important you call 911 so you can receive emergency medical services. Also, police can respond to the scene and conduct an investigation and complete a police report.  The police report can be critical to your case.
  • Get the driver’s information – Ask the driver for their name, address, phone number, driver’s license number, license plate number, and insurance information. 
  • Photograph the scene – Take pictures of the scene. If you are unable to do this yourself, ask a loved one to do it as soon as possible so they can photograph evidence that remained, such as damaged car or bike parts, skid marks, or road debris. 
  • Ask witnesses for their information – Sometimes a statement from an objective witness can cut the tie in a he-said, she-said situation. Ask any witnesses for their names and phone number. 
  • Seek medical attention – Follow up with the care you received immediately after the accident. Follow your doctor’s orders and limitations. Keep all original medical records. 
  • Get the accident report – Ask the responding officer how to get a copy of the accident report. You will need this to file an insurance claim and to provide it to your lawyer. 

Also, contact an Indianapolis bike accident lawyer as soon as possible. A lawyer can handle communication on your behalf so you do not have to provide a recorded statement to the insurance company. A lawyer can also protect your rights and handle the legal aspects of your claim so you can focus on your recovery.

What Causes Bicycle Accidents?

Bicycle accidents occur so often that there are names that specifically identify common causes of these crashes. This includes:

  • Left cross: This happens when a vehicle makes a left-hand turn in front of a bicyclist who is traveling in the opposite direction on the other side of the roadway.
  • Right hook: This type of crash occurs when a vehicle passes a motorcyclist and then turns right suddenly, directly into the bicyclist’s path.
  • Getting doored: This can occur when a bicyclist is passing a vehicle when one of the doors of the vehicle opens suddenly into the bicyclist’s path.
  • Getting rear-ended: This occurs anytime a vehicle strikes a bicyclist from behind because they were following them too closely.
  • Alley-oops: These incidents occur when a vehicle pulls out of an alley, a parking lot, or a garage and strikes a bicyclist on the roadway.

When investigating these incidents, our bicycle accident attorneys regularly discover that our clients were injured because of another driver:

In addition to these common causes of bicycle accidents, we also want to make you aware that these incidents are much more likely to occur if a vehicle driver is impaired by alcohol or drugs or distracted by a phone or another device. Bicycle accidents can occur in many of the same ways as any other vehicle accident. However, bicyclists are much more vulnerable to severe injuries, and the results of these incidents are often much more severe.

Common Injuries Caused By Bicycle Accidents

Bicyclists do not have much protection from the force of a vehicle slamming into them. Even when a bicyclist is wearing a helmet, it is not uncommon for them to sustain one or more of the following injuries in an accident:

How to Avoid Getting in a Bicycle Accident

Fortunately, there are certain steps that you can take to reduce your risk of involvement in an accident.

Make Yourself Visible

If drivers cannot see you, they cannot avoid you. You should take steps to make sure that you are as visible as possible when you ride. These include the following:

  • Wear brightly colored or retro-reflective clothing, especially when riding at night.
  • Use flashing bicycle lamps in the dark or in adverse weather conditions.
  • If possible, avoid riding your bicycle in fog or other low-visibility conditions.
  • Always have the required reflectors on your bike.

Follow All Traffic Laws

Bicyclists have the duty to follow the rules of the road like anyone else does. Make sure you are familiar with the legal requirements of riding on the roadways, including:

  • Using marked bicycle lanes whenever available.
  • Signaling for turns and lane changes.
  • Avoiding distractions and staying aware of traffic around you.
  • Not bicycling when intoxicated.
  • Obeying all traffic signals and signs.

Keep Your Bicycle Maintained

Bicycles require regular inspection, maintenance, and repair. If your bicycle has a defect, a malfunction while riding can result in a collision and injuries. Brakes, tires, gears, and other parts should be kept in good condition at all times to ensure safe riding.

How Much Will a Bicycle Accident Cost?

At the Fountain Law Firm, our team takes Indianapolis bicycle accident cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that our clients will not have to pay any upfront or out-of-pocket costs related to their case. We only collect legal fees after our clients recover the compensation they are entitled to for their personal injury case.  We represent our clients for recovery for their bicycles and other property at no cost.

What Types of Damages Can I Recover After a Bike Accident? 

Bike accidents can lead to massive losses, both from an economic and emotional standpoint. Bike accidents can lead to serious injuries, months of lost wages, ongoing medical needs, and considerable pain and suffering that negatively impacts their life. Indiana allows accident victims to recover the following types of damages:

Actual Damages

Actual damages are those damages you suffer because of the defendant’s conduct, which can generally be traced to an economic loss. These damages include:

  • Damage to your bike and other personal property
  • Medical expenses 
  • Costs of rehabilitation 
  • Lost wages
  • Reduced earning capacity

Non-Economic Damages

Indiana also allows accident victims to recover non-economic damages, which may include compensation for the following:

  • Physical impairment
  • Physical and emotional pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish 
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of companionship, services, and consortium
  • Disfigurement
  • Other non-pecuniary losses caused by a motor vehicle accident

An experienced bike accident lawyer can review the circumstances of your case to determine the types of compensation that might be available for your claim. 

What Is My Case Worth? 

Many accident victims wonder, “What is my case worth?” Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to this question. Your lawyer can explain the potential value of your claim depends on many factors, including:

The Severity of Your Injuries 

Bike accidents can result in injuries ranging from minor scrapes and bruises to traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries. Generally, the more extensive your injuries, the more compensation you may be able to recover because treating these injuries can be expensive. Additionally, your long-term earning potential and quality of life can be adversely affected. 

How Clear Liability Is

Another crucial factor that can impact the value of your case is how clear liability is. If there is objective evidence to show the insured caused your accident, the insurance company may not have a good argument to deny your claim. However, if liability is less certain or if you contributed to the accident, the insurance company may try to deny the claim or offer a lower settlement. 

Other Factors

There are many other factors that can affect your claim, including:

  • Whether or not you are represented by an experienced bike accident lawyer
  • The amount of insurance coverage available
  • The identity and number of parties responsible for your injuries
  • Where the accident occurred
  • The insurance company involved
  • The strength of your evidence
  • Whether negative publicity is involved

An experienced lawyer can evaluate your case and determine how much compensation you may be entitled to.

What If I Contributed to the Accident? 

It is possible that you may be found partially at fault for the accident. Even though the motorist is in a much better position to observe you and take the necessary steps to avoid a crash, you may have contributed to the accident by being distracted or breaking a traffic law. As a cyclist, you have legal responsibilities you must uphold. If you violated your legal duties, you could be found partially at fault for the accident. 

Indiana is a comparative fault state.  You can still pursue compensation for the damages you sustained even if you were partially at fault, as long as you were no more than 50% at fault.

Determination of the amount of your fault is a tricky area of the law and an attorney can help you recover as much as possible.  

Your damages are reduced by your degree of fault. So, if you are found to be 10% at fault for the accident, your damages can be reduced by 10%.  If you are found to be 51% at fault you cannot recover anything. 

How Long Do I Have to File a Bike Accident Claim?

Indiana has a two-year statute of limitations for most personal injury claims. This means, generally, you must file a lawsuit within two years from the date of the accident in most cases, or you can lose your right to recover compensation for your injuries through the court. 

You should contact an attorney right away though for a consultation, because important evidence can be lost by delays or you may sign documents that will jeopardize your case.

Assessing the Risk of Bicycle Accidents

The CDC lists the important risk factors that are especially contributive to fatal and nonfatal bike accident injuries:

  • Bicyclists who are between the ages of 50 and 59 are at the greatest risk of being in fatal bike accidents.
  • Children who are between the ages of five and 14 and adolescents who are between the ages of 15 and 19 are at the greatest risk of sustaining nonfatal injuries related to bike accidents. This category accounts for more than a third of bike-related injuries seen in U.S. emergency rooms.
  • Males are six times more likely to die and four times more likely to be injured while riding than females.
  • Most bike-related deaths happen in urban areas and away from intersections.
  • Alcohol is involved in 37 percent of bicyclist deaths. This percentage accounts for alcohol usage by either the cyclist or the involved driver.

Even if the above risk categories do not apply to you, you are still at risk of being injured anytime you head out on your bicycle. No matter how careful you may be, you can never control the actions of drivers who may be distracted, drunk, or aggressive and as a result, may crash into your bike.

Mitigating the Danger of Bike Accidents

Biking is a great way to stay active, shorten commute times, and decrease your carbon footprint, but as evidenced, biking can also be dangerous. As a bicyclist, always obey the safety rules of the road and follow the CDC’s guidelines for preventing bike accidents:

  • Wear a well-fitting bike helmet every single time you ride (the CDC finds that helmet laws effectively increase helmet usage and decrease fatal and nonfatal bike-related injuries)
  • Wear fluorescent clothing during daylight hours, which can help make you visible from farther away
  • Wear retro-reflective clothing at night, which can help make you more visible
  • Equip your bike with active lighting, including a white front light and a rear red light (along with any other bike-light mechanisms), which can improve your visibility

Bicycle Versus Auto Collisions in Indianapolis Intersections

On a per capita basis, Indiana recorded an annual average of about 2.0 cyclist deaths per million residents, the 13th highest in the United States. Research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that slightly more than 10 percent of serious bicycle accidents involve vehicles, and they usually result in the most serious injuries to cyclists.

Indianapolis Intersection Bicycle Crashes

Although intersections may represent a relatively small portion of a cyclist’s travel route, they are where a cyclist is most at risk of getting hit by a car or otherwise involved in a car accident. Only 11% of bicycle accidents involve a collision with a car but of these, 45% take place in intersections.

In order to minimize the risk of intersection accidents with cars, cyclists need to maximize their visibility, understand the rules of the road, learn to recognize some of the most dangerous intersection hazards and take safety precautions when approaching and riding through an intersection.

How to Avoid Bike Accidents in Indianapolis Intersections?

Intersections pose a special risk to bicyclists for many reasons:

  • Car drivers often underestimate the speed of a bike
  • Car drivers often do not expect bikes to be on the road, so car drivers are not watching for bikes
  • Even if car drivers are on the lookout for bicyclists, they sometimes do not see them because bikes are smaller and can blend into the background based on the biker’s clothing, the sun, as well as other factors.
  • Cyclists should keep this in mind and take extra precautions to avoid accidents at intersections by:
  • Increase the visibility of the bike and cyclist with front and rear lamps, reflective clothing, and brightly colored clothing. It may seem silly, but bikes are small and easy to see through even during the day. Yellow or orange reflective vests really make a big difference, as do reflective leg bands.
  • Be on the lookout for vehicles, road debris, and other dangers
  • Ride defensively
  • Learn to execute emergency maneuvers to avoid collisions
  • Do not pass on the right. It is important as a bicyclist not to overtake slow-moving vehicles on the right as doing so makes you invisible to left-turning motorists at intersections.

Who is at Fault – the Bike or the Car?

Legally speaking, in the state of Indiana, a bicycle is considered a “vehicle”; therefore, just like motorists, cyclists must follow the rules of the road. When it comes to collisions occurring at intersections, liability usually boils down to who had the right-of-way between the car or the bike.

No traffic signals: When two vehicles approach an intersection not controlled by a traffic signal, the vehicle arriving first has the right-of-way. If the vehicles arrive at the same time, the vehicle to the right has the right-of-way.

Traffic signals: The right-of-way at intersections controlled by signals is determined by the traffic signal. If a signal sensor is unable to detect the presence of a bicycle, the cyclist can position the bicycle closer to the sensors embedded in the road or wait until it is safe to cross at the crosswalk.

What Rights Do Bicyclists Have?

When everything goes right, motor vehicles and bicyclists share the roadways without conflict. However, the reality is that drivers often ignore the rights of bicyclists throughout the state of Indiana.

Bicyclists have a right to be on the roadway and are generally considered to be vehicles for the purposes of traffic safety. Bicyclists have to obey all the laws of the road, including following all traffic control devices. Drivers must follow bicyclists at appropriate distances, pass a bicyclist only when it is safe to do so and at a safe distance and yield the right of way to a bicyclist when required to do so. This includes yielding appropriately at traffic control devices, when there is a bicycle lane present, and at crosswalks.

If a bicyclist is injured in an accident caused by the careless or negligent actions of a vehicle driver, they should contact a skilled attorney for help as soon as possible.

Contact an Indianapolis Bicycle Accident Lawyer Today

If you or somebody you love has been injured in a bicycle accident in Indianapolis, contact the the Fountain Law Firm today. Our team has extensive experience handling bicycle claims, and we are ready to fully investigate your incident.

Our goal is to secure maximum compensation so you can make a full recovery and get back to living your life. When you need an Indianapolis bicycle accident lawyer, you can contact us for a free consultation of your case by clicking here or by calling (888) 242-4878.