Before I became an attorney, an auto accident injured me. The accident broke my hand, scarred my face, and caused me neck pain. It seemed natural to work with the insurance company. I thought it would keep my best interests at heart and help me. Unfortunately, I quickly learned that was not the case, and I promptly hired an attorney to protect me.
Since becoming an attorney, I have set a goal to help others through this difficult process. I have been honored to help hundreds of people just like you settle their personal injury cases. From personal experience, I know that lost wages, medical bills, and transportation—among other things—already concern you.I am also a proud member of the Central Indiana Bicycling Association (CIBA). Its mission is to provide opportunities for bicyclists of all ages and abilities to ride their bicycles on safe, friendly, and well-organized rides; to provide information about bicycle events and related activities; to volunteer in support of CIBA and other bicycle-related organizations; and to socialize with other bicyclists.
Indianapolis Bicycle Accident Statistics
Taking care of those injured in bicycle accidents is one of my key practice areas at Fountain Injury Law, located in the Chamber of Commerce Building in downtown Indianapolis. Far too many injuries and even deaths take place, and the number keeps rising. Nationally, in 2012, 726 persons lost their lives in bicycle/motor vehicle crashes, just fewer than two persons every day of the year in the United States. While less than the 732 fatalities in 2001, this number represents an increase from the 682 bicyclist fatalities reported in 2011.
These numbers represent just more than two percent of the total number of persons killed and injured in traffic crashes in 2012.The number of estimated bicyclist injuries climbed to 49,000 in 2012, up from 48,000 in 2011.
Indiana State Police statistics show that in Indiana, accidents between motor vehicles and bicycles increased 17 percent between 2011 and 2012. Of the 1,103 reported collisions, 97 cyclists received severe or permanent injuries, and 14 cyclists died.
Bicyclists have a legal right to use the streets. Failure to provide for their right of way can result in legal responsibility to motorists. Even if you did not collide with a vehicle but sustained injuries while trying to avoid a collision, you may have a case due to the driver’s negligence or recklessness.
What Can Cause a Bike Accident?
Immediately after a bicycle accident, the insurance company will begin an investigation by gathering recorded statements, interviewing witnesses, photographing the scene, and obtaining a copy of the police report—typically within the first week of the accident. This investigation aims to reach a quick settlement.
This may not serve your best interests.
While an insurance adjuster may appear friendly and helpful, remember that the adjuster works for the other person’s insurance company. Establishing the appropriate value of your claim for personal injury involves evaluating the nature and extent of your injuries, the losses from which you can recover compensation, and the liability issues related to the accident.
As an accident victim myself, I know what you’re going through. You may feel lost and unsure of whom to trust. I know it’s overwhelming. Where do you even start? Contact an Indianapolis bicycle accident lawyer with experience in personal injury.
Common causes of serious bicycle accidents include:
- Distracted driving
- Following too closely
- Impaired driving
- Driving in bicycle lanes
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Running stop lights or stop signs
- Negligent bicycle repair
- Negligent bicycle manufacture
- Negligent bicycle design
- Poor road maintenance
Although many accidents involve vehicles, hazardous road conditions or defective products can also cause bicycling accidents.
Protecting Your Rights After a Bicycle Accident in Indianapolis: Five Steps
The hours and days after a serious bicycle accident can fill you with stress, anxiety, and confusion. Not only are you going through an extremely traumatic event that left you with physical injuries, you are also probably worried about how you are going to pay your medical expenses and other bills—all while facing the prospect of missing weeks, months, or even years of work.
If you were hurt in an accident caused by a negligent motorist, road defect, or problem with your bike, you probably feel like it is only fair that you get compensation for the losses you sustained. Fortunately, Indiana lawmakers and judges agree, but at-fault parties do not automatically pay compensation. You will need to file a claim with an insurance company or perhaps even file a lawsuit to recover compensation.
Protect your right to recover compensation after a bike accident, and take the following steps to make the process of filing a claim go much more smoothly.
Gather Information about the way in which your accident occurred. If you can, the first thing you should do after an accident is collect information. If possible, do this at the scene of the accident—but under no circumstances should you refuse or fail to seek medical treatment for serious injuries to gather information. If you can remain at the scene, collect contact and insurance information from any drivers who were involved or anyone who witnessed your accident. Write down the license plate numbers of any vehicles involved. If you can, take pictures of the aftermath of the accident, taking special care to highlight any dangerous road conditions, vehicle damage, or anything else that seems relevant to your crash.
Seek medical attention. If you were in a bicycle accident, seek medical attention as soon as you can, without exception. The accident may have sent you into shock, and the severity of your injuries may not immediately appear. A physician or other healthcare provider will identify and treat your injuries. In addition, a doctor will officially document your injuries, which can help establish your damages with the insurance company or a court.
Never accept a settlement offer from anyone before speaking to an attorney. Many bicycle accident victims receive settlement offers from an insurance company or the at-fault party shortly after an accident. In many instances, initial offers are for far less than what a case is actually worth and are simply an effort to limit liability. Once you accept a settlement, however, you may find it almost impossible to recover additional compensation—even if the costs of your injuries continue to skyrocket. A lawyer will evaluate your case and estimate all of your non-economic and economic losses, including those that may accrue well into the future. As a result, the assistance of an attorney can help you make an informed decision about whether to accept a particular settlement offer.
Keep detailed notes about how your injuries hurt you. In many bicycle accident cases, damages are the only contested issue. This means that the at-fault party does not contest liability for the injuries the victim sustained, but does contest the amount of compensation that the victim seeks. Therefore, keep extremely detailed notes about the way your injuries hurt you on a daily basis, recording any pain, depression, sleeplessness, or anxiety; any social events your injuries force you to skip; or an inability to perform everyday tasks.
Call a lawyer as soon as you can. Finally, retain an attorney as soon as possible after a bicycle accident injures you. In some cases, you may need to gather evidence to prove someone else’s liability for your accident, and any delay in starting an investigation has the potential to result in the loss or destruction of evidence critical to your case. For example, memories fade, governments repair road hazards, and surveillance footage gets deleted. Consequently, the sooner you retain an attorney, the better chance you have of obtaining evidence favorable to your case.
Even in cases where the at-fault party or insurance company does not contest liability (which means you need not collect evidence regarding the accident), hire a lawyer to represent you. As a victim, you can say or do things that could hurt your ability to recover compensation. An attorney will help you conduct yourself in ways that will protect your rights. Your attorney will also communicate with the insurance company for you, making sure that you do not say anything that could constitute an admission of fault for your accident.
How Much Will a Bicycle Accident Lawyer Cost?
Many accident victims worry about the costs associated with retaining an attorney. Because we use a contingency fee agreement in all of our personal injury cases, you will only pay a percentage of the compensation Ms. Fountain obtains on your behalf—if you recover nothing, you owe nothing for the legal representation we provided. In addition, because we offer free consultations, you pay no up-front costs for reviewing the facts of your case with a lawyer.
Contact an Indianapolis Bicycle Accident Lawyer
A bike accident can devastate you, but you don’t have to go through it alone. I will personally help you through this and I will not charge a fee until you settle your case. I will not charge you any fee to help you settle your separate property claim for your bicycle and gear.
If you’re unsure about your case, a free consultation can provide you with peace of mind. Call (888) 242-HURT (4878), and I will personally ensure that you understand your rights, your options, and the consequences of your legal decisions before proceeding. I am committed to obtaining the best possible settlement for you.If I represent you I will not charge any fee until you receive your personal injury settlement. If it is difficult to come to my office, I will meet you at your home or other location of your choosing. Contact us for more information.