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Navigating Cycling Accident Claims: A Complete Guide

If you were injured in a cycling accident, you have the right to file an insurance claim and potentially a lawsuit against the driver who hit you. When correctly navigated, cycling accident claims can help you recover losses from medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, and suffering. Below, our cycling accident attorneys from Sadaka Law discuss everything you need to know about seeking compensation after a bike accident.

Steps To Take for Cycling Accident Claims

You may feel shocked and confused when hit by a motor vehicle while riding your bike. The adrenaline from the accident might mask the pain from your injuries, and you could feel tempted to leave the scene entirely. As overwhelming as it may seem, you must stay calm and complete the following steps:

Document the Incident

You want to collect evidence quickly after the accident before any parties leave the scene. To document the incident, take photos of the following:

  • Your bicycle
  • Your equipment
  • Your injuries
  • The driver’s vehicle
  • Your clothing or shoes
  • Any damage to the road or surrounding area

Seek Medical Attention

You must seek immediate medical attention for your injury, even if you feel mostly OK. In many bicycle collision injury claims, people wait too long to see a doctor as their pain doesn’t manifest for a few days. Because they waited too long, the insurance company can easily argue that the accident didn’t cause their injury.

Gather Information

Before leaving the accident scene, gather contact and insurance information from all involved parties. You should also ask for contact information from potential witnesses on the scene.

File a Police Report

You must file a police report for any accident involving property damage or injuries. Call the police after the accident to file an official report. The reporting officer will take note of the accident details.

Contact an Attorney and Notify Insurance

Once home, you should contact a cycling accident attorney as soon as possible to seek bicycle accident compensation. Do not speak with insurers, police officers, or other parties about your injuries or accident details without consulting an attorney first. Your attorney will help you go through the process of filing a cycling accident claim.

Legal Basis for Cycling Accident Claims

lanes for bicycles for safety

Drivers often assume that cyclists have no place on the road. After an accident with a driver, you may find yourself accidentally assuming liability for a wreck that you didn’t cause. Let’s explore how legal claims for cycling accidents work so you can better understand your rights when riding a bike.

Traffic Laws and Regulations

In all U.S. states, cyclists adhere to laws similar to those for motor vehicles. As a bicyclist, you can ride in the lane, following the flow of traffic.

When changing lanes, you must yield to pedestrians, intersections, and other vehicles. Cyclists should use hand signals and turning lanes to navigate intersections.

In general, you should use the bicycle lane when available or stick to the right side of the lane if the lane is wide enough. In narrow lanes, cyclists should ride single file with motor vehicles. All of these laws factor into cycling accident claims.

Negligence and Liability

Every state has varying negligence laws regarding traffic accidents. Generally, one or multiple drivers will assume a percentage of liability based on the negligent action that caused the accident. For example, if you were on your bicycle turning left through an intersection and a vehicle ran a red light and hit you, the driver may assume 80% liability for negligently running the red light, but you may also assume 20% for not appropriately signaling a left turn with your arm.

The percentages affect how much compensation you can receive. For example, New York is a contributory negligence state, meaning you cannot seek compensation if you’re found partially liable (as in the example above).

Conversely, New Jersey follows comparative negligence, which allows each party to seek compensation reduced by the percentage amount for which they were found liable. Following the example from above, if the maximum reward for the accident was $100,000 and you were 20% at fault, you could qualify for $80,000.

How Are Compensation Amounts Determined in Cycling Accident Claims?

Compensation amounts are determined based on the total damages you can prove resulted directly from the accident. Damages may include measurable items, like medical bills, and punitive losses, like pain and suffering.

Types of Compensation Available

insurance broker consulting injured woman

You can generally seek compensation for four types of losses in cyclist injury compensation claims:

Medical Expenses

You can seek compensation for all past, current, and future medical expenses relating to your injury, including (but not limited to) the following:

  • Ambulance transfers
  • Emergency room visits
  • Surgeries or procedures
  • Any testing or scanning
  • Medical devices or equipment
  • Ongoing physical therapy
  • Provider visits relating to the injury

You must keep a record of all costs to seek maximum compensation for your losses. Be sure to follow all doctor recommendations, as failing to do so could harm your claim.

Property Damage

You may also seek compensation for damage to your bicycle, cycling equipment, clothing, shoes, or anything related to the accident. Again, take note of this damage as soon as possible after the incident.

Lost Wages

If your injury requires you to take time off work, you can seek compensation for lost wages. The same can apply if you need to pay for child care or transportation because of the nature of your injury.

Pain and Suffering

Non-economic damages (punitive damages), like pain and suffering, allow you to seek compensation for the trauma and emotional aspects of your experience. Here are some examples of pain and suffering damages:

  • Emotional trauma
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Mental anguish

You cannot recover these damages through an insurance claim, but you may be able to seek them in a lawsuit. Quantifying non-economic damages requires support from a highly skilled and experienced attorney.

How Long Do You Have To File a Cycling Accident Claim?

The statute of limitations for filing a bicycle accident claim varies between states, but you usually have around two years from the date of your accident. You must file the claim with the insurance company far sooner than this deadline, as most insurers require you to file claims within a reasonable amount of time, which can vary between companies. You should contact an attorney to begin the process as soon as possible to avoid potential complications.

Common Challenges in Cycling Accident Claims

man with judge gavel in his hands

Cycling accident claims can involve an array of challenges, including the following:

Lack of Witness Cooperation

In many cases, you and the other driver may disagree on who was liable for the accident. If the evidence of damage isn’t obvious, your case may hinge on a witness. Bystanders who witnessed the accident may not always want to cooperate, as getting involved in legal proceedings can be time-consuming and mentally draining.

Inadequate Insurance Coverage

In a perfect world, you file a claim with the other party’s insurance, and they cover all of your losses. In many cases, though, the liable party’s policy may not cover the extent of your damages.

For example, if you suffered severe injuries with hospital bills reaching over $100,000, their liability coverage may only cover your losses up to $50,000. In this scenario, you may file a lawsuit for full compensation.

Disputes Over Liability

One of the most common challenges in cycling accident claims is liability disputes. The liable driver’s insurer will likely attempt to make you claim partial liability to minimize their losses. Such disputes can lead to battles over evidence, settlement arguments, and more, potentially leading to a lawsuit.

If you’ve been injured in a bicycle accident, we want to help you avoid the common challenges in cycling accident claims. Call Sadaka Law today at (800) 810-3457 to schedule a consultation with an experienced cycling accident attorney.



Principal & Founder
This article was written by Mark Sadaka, a seasoned trial lawyer in nationally significant cases. He fearlessly champions clients impacted by fatal or severe injuries caused by others or corporations. Renowned for his expertise in complex litigation, he's featured in books, sought after by media for interviews, and a highly sought speaker. Notably, he exclusively represents individuals facing life-changing injuries or substantial financial losses.

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