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Kirk Bernard

Seattle Bicycle Accident Lawyers 

Bicycle accidents come in many forms. From being doored or hit from behind, the outcome is often the same – devastating injuries that have long-term consequences. If you or someone in your family is injured in a bicycle accident, our experienced attorneys are available to help.

We understand the impact of these accidents and will work to build a solid case to help you recover the compensation you deserve.

Understanding Bicycle Laws in Washington

If you ride a bicycle as your main source of transportation or for pleasure, knowing the laws is essential to keep yourself and others safe. In Washington, the laws that you should know are listed here:

  • Helmet Laws: Washington does not have a statewide helmet law; however, some cities or counties do.
  • Road Rules: As cyclists, we share the road with vehicles, and thus, we follow the same rules. This includes obeying traffic signals and signs and using the rightmost lane that serves our destination.
  • Passing Laws: Vehicles must maintain a safe distance of at least three feet when passing a cyclist. This rule helps us ensure safety for both cyclists and drivers.

Specific Regulations and Laws in Seattle

While Washington has some laws for bicycle riders, certain cities, like Seattle, also have laws. These must be followed. For Seattle, these include:

  • Bike Lanes: Bike lanes are available throughout most of the city and should be used.
  • Sidewalk Riding: Riding on the sidewalk is legal here, but we must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and give an audible signal before overtaking them.
  • Bike Lights and Reflectors: During low visibility, bicycles must have a white front light and a red rear reflector.

The Rights and Responsibilities of Bicyclists

  • Rights: As bicyclists, you have the right to share the road and be treated with respect by other road users.
  • Responsibilities: Bicyclists also have responsibilities, such as signaling turns and stopping at all stop signs and signals. Staying alert, being visible, and riding predictably are key to our safety.

Types of Bicycle Accidents

At our law firm, we’ve seen firsthand the various types of bicycle accidents that can occur. Understanding these can help identify the legal issues involved and the rights of the injured cyclist.

Here are the common types we encounter:

Collisions with Vehicles

One of the most common accidents is collisions between bicycles and vehicles. These can occur at intersections, on roads without bike lanes, or when vehicles make unsafe turns. Our role is to investigate these incidents thoroughly to determine fault and liability.

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Accidents Due to Poor Road Conditions

Unsafe road conditions, such as potholes, uneven surfaces, or debris, can lead to serious bicycle accidents. In these cases, we explore whether a lack of proper road maintenance contributed to the accident and who may be legally responsible, a government entity or a private property owner.

Dooring Accidents

Dooring accidents happen when a driver or passenger of a parked vehicle opens their door into a cyclist’s path. These accidents can cause severe injury to cyclists. We work to establish the negligence of the vehicle’s occupant and seek fair compensation for our clients.

Accidents Caused by Pedestrian Actions

While less common, accidents can also occur due to the actions of pedestrians, such as suddenly stepping into a bike lane or obstructing a cyclist’s path without warning. In such scenarios, we assess the situation to understand how the pedestrian’s actions may have contributed to the incident.

Injuries Commonly Sustained in Bicycle Accidents

At our law firm, we understand the severity and variety of injuries that can result from bicycle accidents. Knowing about the common injuries, their potential long-term impacts, and the importance of medical documentation in building a strong personal injury claim is crucial.

Overview of Typical Injuries

  • Cuts and Bruises: Often, the most visible and immediate injuries, cuts, and bruises can range from minor to severe.
  • Bone Fractures: Cyclists are at risk of fracturing bones upon impact, especially in collisions with vehicles or falls caused by road hazards.
  • Head Injuries: Even with a helmet, cyclists can suffer concussions or more severe traumatic brain injuries. These can have subtle symptoms but serious consequences.
  • Spinal Injuries: These injuries can be particularly severe, potentially leading to long-term disability.

Long-Term Impact of Serious Injuries

The aftermath of a bicycle accident can extend far beyond the initial injury. For example, a spinal injury may lead to chronic pain or mobility issues, and head injuries can result in cognitive impairments or emotional challenges.

Understanding these long-term impacts is crucial for ensuring that any settlement or award considers not just immediate medical expenses but also ongoing care, therapy, and potential changes in quality of life.

The Importance of Medical Documentation

In building a personal injury claim, medical documentation is essential. It provides an objective record of the injuries sustained and treatments required, which is essential for proving the extent and impact of the injuries.

We encourage our clients to seek prompt medical attention following an accident and to keep detailed records of all treatments, diagnoses, and recommendations. This documentation forms the foundation of a strong, evidence-based claim.

Our team is committed to guiding our clients through documenting their injuries and understanding their implications.

Determining Liability and Negligence in Bicycle Accident Cases

After a bicycle accident, it is necessary to determine who is responsible. Our attorneys will use their experience and knowledge to gather evidence and build a case to show who was at fault.

How Liability is Determined in Washington

Determining liability in a bicycle accident involves establishing who was at fault for causing the accident. This process can be complex, involving the analysis of accident reports, witness statements, and, often, expert testimony.

Our role includes investigating the accident thoroughly, collecting evidence, and demonstrating how the other party’s actions (or inactions) led to the accident. This might involve proving a driver’s failure to yield, a property owner’s negligence in maintaining safe premises, or a city’s inadequate road design.

The Role of Negligence in Personal Injury Claims

Negligence is a key concept in personal injury law. It refers to the failure to take reasonable care to avoid causing injury or loss to another person. In the context of bicycle accidents, this could mean a driver’s inattention, a pedestrian’s reckless behavior, or a cyclist’s failure to follow traffic laws.

Establishing negligence can be challenging, but we will build a case to show how the negligent party breached their duty of care and how this breach directly caused our client’s injuries.

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Comparative Negligence in Washington State

Washington follows the rule of “comparative negligence.” This means that if a cyclist is partially at fault for the accident, their compensation may be reduced by their percentage of fault.

For instance, if a cyclist is found to be 20% at fault in an accident, their compensation will be reduced by 20%. Our job is to ensure that this percentage is accurately determined and to minimize unjust blame placed on our clients.

Steps to Take After a Bicycle Accident

We work to guide our clients through the essential steps immediately following an accident. These steps are crucial for your safety and the strength of your potential legal claim.

Immediate Actions Post-Accident

  • Seek Medical Care: Your health is our primary concern. Even if you don’t feel injured, some injuries, like concussions or internal injuries, aren’t immediately apparent. Seeking medical attention ensures your well-being and provides medical records vital for your claim.
  • File a Police Report: This step is often overlooked but critical. A police report provides an official account of the accident, which is invaluable in legal proceedings.
  • Documenting the Accident Scene: If you can, take photographs of the scene, including your bike, the vehicle involved, and any road hazards. Also, get contact information from witnesses. This evidence can be helpful during our investigation and help prove fault.
  • Contacting a Personal Injury Attorney: Contact us as soon as possible. Early legal advice can differentiate between a successful claim and a missed opportunity. We’ll guide you on what to say, what not to say, and how to navigate the insurance processes.
  • Legal Process for Bicycle Accident Claims: Understanding the legal process is fundamental to navigating your claim effectively.

Filing a Personal Injury Claim

The timeline for filing a claim can vary, but generally, it should be done immediately after the accident. In Washington, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is generally three years, but earlier is always better.

The Proof Is In Our Case Results Over $500 MILLION recovered for our clients. Let us help YOU! Call 24/7 for your FREE injury consultation. 206-298-9900

Dealing with insurance companies can be challenging. They might try to settle quickly, often for less than you deserve. We negotiate with them on your behalf, ensuring your rights are protected.

Most cases settle out of court, but we are prepared to go to trial if a fair settlement isn’t offered. Based on your specific case, we’ll advise you on the best course of action.

Compensation and Damages

The compensation you may receive is a critical aspect of your claim.

You may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. These damages are designed to restore your financial position as if the accident never occurred.

The value of a claim depends on several factors, including the severity of your injuries, the impact on your daily life, and the total economic losses incurred. The extent of your injuries, the clarity of liability, your employment situation, and the impact on your quality of life all influence the compensation amount. Our expertise ensures that these factors are thoroughly evaluated in your claim.

Let Our Experienced Seattle Bicycle Accident Lawyers Help with Your Case

After a bicycle accident, you may be confused and unsure what to do. At the Bernard Law Group, we offer advice and legal guidance to help you recover the compensation you deserve. We’re here to help protect your rights and interests so you can focus on what matters most—your recovery and well-being.

More Information and Reading about Seattle Bicycle Accident

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Over $500 Million recovered for our past clients. Let us help YOU! Call 24/7 for your FREE injury consultation. 206-298-9900

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