Arizona is a perfect state for riding a bike. It has warm and dry weather almost year round and plenty of flat stretches of road. You can easily live and work in Arizona using a bike as your primary mode of transportation.
As convenient as cycling can be, it does present one major concern: bike accidents. If you are hit by a car while riding a bike, you will likely spend weeks or even months in the hospital, assuming you survive. This means you could be looking at potentially tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills and lost wages.
If you have been seriously hurt in a bike accident, the Scottsdale Bike Accident Lawyers lawyers at Torgenson Law may be able to help you get compensation for your losses that will assist you in making a full recovery. Contact our law firm at 602-726-0747 to learn about your legal options.
If you are injured in a bike accident in Scottsdale, don’t panic. The personal injury attorneys at Torgenson Law have plenty of experience helping victims of accidents recover the money they need after a serious injury.
In many ways, a bike accident is similar to a car accident. There are actions you need to take immediately and some behaviors that you should avoid. Following these instructions will likely help you get better compensation from a bike accident injury claim.
A bike is treated like a car in many ways. If you are injured in a bike accident, the first thing you should do is call 911. This is important because it accomplishes two goals: getting the medical treatment you need and informing the police about your accident.
Getting medical care should be your top priority, no matter how serious you think your injuries are. It is easy to underestimate the severity of injuries after a bike accident, especially when your adrenaline is still spiking.
Additionally, your attorney will need evidence of how badly you were hurt to get you fair compensation for your injuries. When you get medical care from a professional, they create records that can be used to support your claim.
Typically, the police will arrive at some point and will want to talk to you about the accident. They need information from you to write a police report. While you want to provide that information eventually, avoid giving a statement until your lawyer is present.
You have the right to be represented by counsel before speaking with the police. Politely provide your contact information and let them know that you will make yourself available for an interview once your lawyer can be there, too.
This is the same approach you should take when dealing with the car driver who hit you, witnesses, and insurance companies. Keep any conversations limited to contact information unless you have a lawyer to advise you. This prevents you from accidentally saying something that can be taken as an admission of fault.
Finally, avoid social media at all costs. Anything you post online can come back to haunt you. If you need to share information with close friends or family, do so in person or over the phone. Even then, though, you should say as little as possible to avoid hurting your case.
If you are going to delay talking to the police or the insurance company until you have a lawyer, you need to be represented by a lawyer. When you reach out to our law firm, we will schedule a free consultation as quickly as possible.
We’ll then help guide you through every step of the legal process. Additionally, our lawyers will take point in communications with the police and insurance companies.
While our law firm will do as much of the work as possible for your bike accident claim, we will need a little help from you. Primarily, we need you to maintain as many records as possible.
To that end, make sure to take pictures of everything at the accident scene if you are healthy enough to do so. Specifically, you should try to get photos of:
Also, once you start getting medical attention, maintain copies of all records you receive. Your attorney will want copies of any medical bills, diagnoses, and treatments.
Just as Arizona has many rules designed to prevent car accidents, it also has regulations designed to prevent bike accidents. Thankfully, the majority of these laws are identical, making it easy to understand your rights as a bicyclist in Arizona.
The most important right that you have as a bicyclist in Arizona is the right to drive on any street or highway that a car can drive on. For most purposes, your bike is treated exactly like a car.
This means that car drivers are required to share the road with bicyclists. You can’t be forced to ride on a sidewalk or to walk your bike on the side of the road.
Due to the slow speed you travel (compared to cars), you are required to get out of the way occasionally (when there is a safe pull-off and at least five cars are behind you). But other than that, you have the right to use the full lane like any other vehicle.
One right bicyclists have that car drivers don’t is the right to ride abreast. This means that two bicyclists — though no more than that — can ride side-by-side in a single lane.
If you were injured in a bicycle accident, you have the right to get compensation from the insurance company of the individual who was at fault in your accident. The process for getting that compensation is pretty much identical to getting compensation after a car accident.
The most important factor to take into account is that your compensation may be limited if you were partially responsible for the injuries you suffered. For example, if you weren’t wearing a helmet, you might get reduced compensation if you suffered a head injury because your decision impacted how seriously you were hurt.
The types of injuries you suffer in a bike accident depend on the circumstances of the crash. For example, if you are sideswiped by a car, you will likely suffer leg contusions or a broken leg from where that vehicle hit you. The following are other common injuries and what usually causes them.
These injuries are most likely to happen when you are thrown from your bike, which might occur if you slam into a car or your bike flips. Head injuries can be lessened in severity by wearing a bike helmet.
Any collision with a car is likely to result in a broken limb, especially if you are riding or the car is moving at high speeds. This type of injury tends to happen when your bike falls over. Typically, riders put their arm out to catch their fall and break their wrist, hand, or arm.
This injury happens when you slide along the road after a bike accident. You can sustain road rash in any type of bike accident at high speeds, but you are most likely to experience it when you are hit from behind. The damage from your skin is a type of burn that often requires multiple surgeries to repair and may result in permanent scars.
Even the heaviest bicycle only weighs a few dozen pounds. The rider may weigh anywhere from about 50 lbs to 300 lbs, depending on age, gender, and health. Comparatively, the lightest car weighs about 2,000 pounds.
That difference in weight results in a much higher likelihood of death in a bicycle accident. A significant portion of those deaths result from head injuries.
The most common cause of bicycle accidents is also the most common cause of car accidents: carelessness. When a bike rider is careless, it is usually at lower speeds. This will likely result in injuries, but those injuries are probably going to be less serious than an accident that involves a car.
By contrast, a car driver’s carelessness can leave bike riders with more serious injuries. Car driver carelessness or recklessness occurs in several common ways, including the following:
Unfortunately, not all car drivers respect the rights of bicyclists. Some consider bicyclists to be intruders on the road. As such, they may try to bully them off the road by encroaching on their space.
This behavior is likely to cause a bike accident because bicyclists need space just as cars do, and they must be able to avoid road hazards like debris or potholes. Bicyclists must also have time to slow down when turning or traveling through traffic.
Another serious risk to bicyclists is drunk drivers. While these individuals pose a threat to everyone on the road, they are a greater danger to bicyclists because drunk drivers are less likely to notice a bike.
Drunk drivers also are less likely to slow down when presented with a danger. If a bicyclist is hit by a driver who is trying to avoid them and slow their vehicle, they are much less likely to suffer serious injuries than if they are hit by someone moving at full speed.
People who quickly look at their phone or turn from the road to eat something usually think that the few moments won’t be dangerous. While that is never true, it is even less true when they are sharing the road with a bike.
Because bikes are smaller, a distracted driver might not realize that one is even on the road with them. And bikes can’t safely swerve away from someone who crosses a yellow line as easily as a car can.
You probably have two years from the day of the accident to file a claim. However, there are exceptions to this rule, and time moves more quickly than you might realize after you suffer a serious injury.
Don’t worsen a serious injury after a bike accident by trying to navigate the complex rules of the Arizona statute of limitations on your own. The best way to ensure you don’t hit the time limit is to contact Scottsdale Bike Accident Lawyers Torgenson Law right away to schedule a free consultation. We’re also available by phone at 602-726-0747.