While cycling is an efficient and eco-friendly mode of transportation, bicyclists are at an increased risk of severe injuries in the event of an accident. If you were injured while riding a bike, you may benefit from reaching out to a Michigan bicycle accident lawyer to discuss your circumstances and legal options.
The resulting injuries from a bike crash may leave you overwhelmed and faced with medical bills, lost wages, and emotional trauma. However, when a motorist, careless pet owner, or other reckless person caused your damages, you should not have to shoulder the subsequent costs alone. By working with a dedicated and compassionate injury attorney, you could consider your rights and pursue a claim for compensation.
The Reasons for Bicycle Wrecks
While a bicycle crash could result from any number of circumstances, there are common reasons for accidents in Michigan. For example, negligent motorists are a frequent cause of bicycle wrecks—when drivers make sudden turns, are intoxicated, swerve into another lane, or fail to regard road signage, the chances of a collision with a cyclist greatly increase. Similarly, speeding and suddenly-opened doors are also common instances of drivers harming bicyclists.
Furthermore, negligent pet owners may not control their eager pet and allow a dog to interfere with a cyclist. In other circumstances, dangerous or hazardous road conditions may contribute to—or cause—a crash. No matter the reasons leading up to a crash, however, cyclists are at an increased risk for severe damages and could benefit from speaking to a seasoned Michigan lawyer about what to do after a bicycle accident.
Crosswalks and Bicyclists
One of the most common places where bicycle accident occur are on crosswalks. This can happen from a number of circumstances, all of which might lead to severe injuries to the cyclist. For example, if a driver fails to slow down or yield the right of way to a bicyclist who has approached or is already on a crosswalk, they run the risk of colliding with the bicyclist. If so, the injured biker might be able to pursue compensation against the negligent driver.
On the other hand, if a crosswalk has not been properly maintained—if, for example, it has a pothole or uneven pavement—a bicyclist might not be able to stop or swerve to avoid a crash. Under these circumstances, an injured bicyclist might be able to file a claim against the government entity responsible for maintaining the crosswalk, or the road crew who was supposed to properly tend to a hazard.
What to Do After an Accident
The most important thing an injured cyclist could do is to call emergency services. If they can, obtaining the driver or other at-fault party’s name, address, phone number, plate number, and insurance information could be key for a future claim. Furthermore, photographing the scene of the accident and giving an accident report to a law enforcement officer could prove helpful, as well as not admitting any potential guilt or speaking with another person’s insurance company.
Additionally, keeping a copy of any resulting medical bills is often helpful to calculate the extent of a bicycle accident victim’s damages, both physical and financial. Similarly, having a mechanic or professional study the damage done to a bicycle is also useful for calculating damages. At any stage during the aftermath of a bicycle wreck, the aid of an experienced Michigan might prove helpful, especially as a victim deals with the injuries and subsequent losses from a crash.
Common Cycling Injuries in Michigan
Because of the general lack of safety bicyclists have, accidents often result in serious injuries. While wearing a helmet and other safety equipment is essential to mitigating damages, they are unfortunately not always enough to prevent injury. These include, but are not limited to:
- Scrapes, bruises, and cuts
- Broken and fracture bones
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Spinal cord damage
- Head and brain trauma
Because of the potential for severe and even fatal damages, a victim of a bicycle accident—or their loved one’s—may wish to seek the services of a caring and knowledgeable Michigan lawyer to discuss how to proceed. The advice of a legal professional may help to clarify an injured person’s legal options to pursue compensation.
How Can an Injured Bicyclist Recover Damages in Michigan?
There are two primary ways for an injured cyclist to recover damages: through an insurance claim under Michigan’s no-fault coverage or by filing a civil lawsuit against an at-fault motorist—either way, a skilled bicycle accident lawyer could help. Navigating the legal process for either claim is often complex, with differing steps and requirements for each.
No-Fault Insurance Benefits for Cyclists
Bicyclists injured in Michigan can always to pursue compensation through a no-fault insurance claim. An injured cyclist is injured able to receive benefits through this policy no matter who is to blame for an accident. Benefits are available even if the victim did not own a vehicle or have an auto insurance policy.
These claims provide for payment of lost wages, medical expenses, household services, and attendant care services. Payment for medical transportation, home modifications, and transportation benefits are also available if recommended by a physician.
Filing a Civil Lawsuit
Sometimes, the full extent of a person’s damages after a bicycle crash cannot be covered by no-fault insurance benefits. Instead, many injured bicyclists seek compensation through a civil lawsuit against an at-fault driver, pet owner, or another negligent party.
The primary difference in pursuing a lawsuit instead of an insurance claim, however, lies in what must be proven in order to successfully receive benefits. Essentially, an injured claimant seeking compensation from an at-fault entity must be able to demonstrate negligence. This is done through numerous steps—including proving a person behaved recklessly or carelessly, and subsequently linking this act to a crash—and is often complex. Therefore, a victim of a cycling collision may benefit from seeking the services of a tenacious attorney to gather evidence and work to prove negligence in order to recover damages.
What Types of Compensation Are Available?
Because of the numerous and far-reaching losses a bicycle accident victim may incur, a civil lawsuit may provide compensation for a number of damages both economic and non-economic. These include, but are not limited to:
- Past and future wages
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Medical expenses—such as hospital bills, rehabilitation, and physical therapy
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of companionship, consortium
- Decreased earning capacity
While some of these expenses are easily calculable, others are more subjective losses. As a result, an injured plaintiff may wish to enlist the counsel of a detail-oriented attorney to calculate the full and total extent of their losses.
Deadline for Filing a Bicycle Crash Claim
It is essential for anyone injured in a cycling crash to be aware of the deadlines for filing a claim in Michigan. This deadline—known as the statute of limitations—sets a three-year timeframe from the date of the injury by which a person can pursue legal action.
There might be exceptions to this deadline, but these will vary on a case-by-case basis. Because of this, working with a Michigan lawyer might be beneficial to anyone looking to file a bicycle accident claim.
Work With a Michigan Bicycle Accident Attorney
If you were injured in a cycling crash, you may feel panicked and overwhelmed. However, when another person’s careless, reckless, or malicious behavior contributed to your injuries, you have a legal right to pursue compensation.
Instead of trying to navigate the complexities and nuances of the legal system alone, a Michigan bicycle accident lawyer could help. A determined and well-versed attorney could explain your legal standing, collect evidence on your behalf, and work tirelessly to file a thorough claim for compensation so that you may focus on your recovery. To begin building a claim today, call a legal professional.
Michigan Bicycle Accident References and Resources