Should I Get a Lawyer for a Bicycle Accident in Fort Collins?
If you or a family member has been injured while cycling in Fort Collins, you may have wondered: should I get a lawyer for a bicycle accident? In many cases, the answer is yes. Here’s all the information you need to make an informed decision that considers your rights in the state of Colorado.
How can a bicycle accident lawyer help you?
The science of bicycle collisions
Bicycle accidents typically happen between automobiles and cyclists sharing the same roadways. A collision between a vehicle and a bicycle is almost always more dangerous for the cyclist because the cyclist is out in the open, unprotected, and because cars and trucks usually move at much greater speeds than bicycles. The sheer physics of the equation dictate that the cyclist is going to bear the brunt of injuries most of the time.
These injuries can be quite serious and involve emergency transportation to a hospital trauma center. They include:
- Fractured bones
- Soft tissue injury, like contusions (bruising), abrasions (scrapes), and lacerations (cuts)
- Internal bleeding
- Organ damage
- Head trauma, concussions, and traumatic brain injury (even when wearing a helmet)
- Neck and spinal trauma
- Nerve damage
- Amputations and severed limbs
How can a bicycle accident lawyer help you? Many times cyclists or bicyclists are injured or crash while riding to work or for recreation. If one is hit by a car while riding a bicycle, the general rules of negligence apply just as in a car vs. car accident. One has to prove that there was liability or negligence on the part of the at-fault driver. If a driver pulls out in front of you and fails to yield the right of way to a cyclist, then that driver is negligent since a reasonable, prudent driver has a duty to keep a proper lookout for cyclists and pedestrians. Secondly, the fault of the driver must be the cause of your injuries. Finally, the damages are determined just like any personal injury case, did you incur medical bills and expenses as a result of the crash, did you lose wages or time from work, will you incur future medical bills and expenses. The second part of your damages would be non-economic damages like pain and suffering, mental distress, fear, and loss of enjoyment of life or the ability to ride your bicycle. All of these concerns can be answered by a bicycle accident lawyer.
Bicycle Accident Lawyer Fort CollinsCall (970) 364-6830 for a free consultation.
Many times, even the police do not understand the law governing cyclists. For example, I am a competitive master’s cyclists and have been pulled over by the Police for riding two abreast down a four-lane road. It is permissible, under the law, to ride 2 abreast as long as there is another lane to your left where cars can pass. In some states, if you are impeding traffic behind you, then technically an officer can give you a citation. Every state has different laws surrounding cyclist safety. In Colorado, a car cannot pass a cyclist until it is safe to do so and must pass at a 3-foot wide envelope. In other words, if a passing driver cannot pass you and give you 3 feet of clearance, then the driver is not allowed to pass (and can be ticketed for unsafe driving). If it is not safe to pass, then the motorist must wait. If you see a driver passing too close or almost touching you when they pass, this is very dangerous and reckless and try to note the license plate or description of the vehicle and immediately report it to the police.
Complications with bicycle accidents
More severe injuries can result in further complications, such as memory loss or problems with cognition. Victims may lose the ability to walk and even suffer permanent loss of range of motion or paralysis.
There are financial losses too. An ambulance ride, ER visit, and subsequent medical care, including physical therapy and rehabilitation, all cost tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. If you’re like many people injured in a bicycle accident, you may be forced to take time off of work, resulting in lost income. You may never be able to return to work.
In the worst-case scenarios, a bicycle accident can result in death for the victim. The family is left with medical bills and astronomical funeral costs, in addition to their emotional loss.
How victims are shortchanged
Should the driver of the vehicle be responsible for these costs? Yes, if they are found to be at fault in the accident. However, sometimes law enforcement isn’t aware of all the legal nuances involved in these types of accidents. They may determine the driver is not at fault. Or, as happens more frequently, the driver is found at fault, but their insurance company attempts to pay as little as possible out to the victim.
It’s very easy for insurance companies to take advantage of cyclists in this kind of situation. You want to put the accident behind you and move on. You don’t know if you should settle for what you’re offered as it seems better than nothing.
There have been many unnecessary deaths caused by impatient drivers. Why can’t drivers wait a few seconds and pass a cyclist safely? Unfortunately, in today’s world, people are always in a hurry and not paying attention or texting on their cell phones. All of this makes cycling a dangerous sport and mode of transportation. We need more public education on how drivers should deal with cyclists and what to do at intersections and when approaching cyclists from behind. Most people are aware of cyclists and pass them safely but there are always these groups of people who feel that cyclists have no place on the road and should be banned from using the same roads as cars. However, how are cyclists supposed to practice their sport or hobby or get to work while at the same time, protecting the environment? We should all be encouraging cycling as it does cut down on pollution and does help one’s health and fitness. Please look out for cyclists out there as every cyclist on the road is someone’s mother, father, son or daughter. Don’t be the one who ends up in jail for killing or seriously injuring a cyclist. Learn more about bicycling in Fort Collins.
How bicycle accident attorneys help
That’s where I come in as a bicycle accident attorney. We help bicyclists get the compensation they deserve when they are the victim of an accident. We know how to legally pursue and win damages for you to cover medical bills, lost work, and non-economic costs, such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental distress
- Inability to ride your bike
- Loss of enjoyment in life
You can leave the back-and-forth negotiations to me so you can get on with your life without the constant stress of conflict. I can even go to trial for you if that’s what it takes. And you’ll know your legal rights as a bicyclist and resident of Colorado are being protected by an attorney who is both an avid cyclist and a passionate pursuer of justice.
Contact Doug Allen, Bicycle Accident Attorney, for a free consultation today. Call my office at 970-364-6830 or use my confidential message form to request an appointment. I can help you recover the money you need and are entitled to.
What are some typical causes of bicycle accidents?
Poor driving, pedestrians, pets, and unsafe conditions
I often find many of the same causes behind bicycle accidents involving my clients, although of course the details of their cases are unique. Perhaps some of these will sound familiar to you, and, in some cases, they overlap:
- Cars that refuse to “share the road” with cyclists
- Vehicles that fail to yield to the right of way
- Drivers who break common traffic laws while driving
- Speeding drivers or going too fast for conditions
- Passing with insufficient room on the road
- Opening the vehicle door without regard for nearby cyclists
- Vehicles rear-ending cyclists
- Inattentive driving, such as texting while driving
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
Occasionally, a cyclist’s accident is not with a vehicle. There are other causes of bicycle accidents as well as car collisions:
- Another bicyclist is at fault.
- A pedestrian walks or runs into a cyclist.
- A dog charges or attacks the cyclist.
- Someone intentionally or negligently makes a designated bike riding area unsafe.
I am happy to discuss your case with you even if it was not a vehicle that caused your accident. In many instances, you may still be entitled to damages.
What are your rights as a cyclist in Colorado?
Duty of care
Many cyclists mistakenly believe they don’t have rights when it comes to the roadways of Colorado. Nothing could be further from the truth. You actually have many rights that must be respected by motor vehicles and others sharing the road with you.
Motorists have a duty of care to operate safely and carefully. This doesn’t just apply to other motorists. Drivers must apply this “reasonableness” to others on the road as well, including pedestrians and cyclists. When a driver violates their duty of care, they may be committing negligence.
Colorado Bike Safety Act
In 2009, the Colorado Bike Safety Act was implemented in an effort to clarify the responsibilities of drivers and cyclists. Among other things, this act codifies rules such as:
- When motorists approach from behind, bicyclists who are riding abreast on a two-lane road should move into single file position. However, if there is at least one other lane in the same direction, they may ride two abreast. Vehicles cannot force them to the side to pass and should wait until the adjacent lane is available for passing. (Failure to do so could be considered negligence should an accident occur.)
- A minimum of three feet of space is required when motorists pass alongside a cyclist to move ahead on the road.
- Motorists may not crowd, threaten, or intentionally swerve towards cyclists to intimidate or frighten them. They may also not throw anything at cyclists. (Accidents that result from this kind of prohibited behavior may go beyond negligence when it comes to damages.)
Colorado takes bicycle safety seriously, and the Department of Transportation has published a Guide to Safe Bicycling manual with more rules and tips.
Why is Doug Allen the bicycle accident attorney you should call?
As an avid cyclist, I know what many cyclists have had to endure on roads around Fort Collins and beyond. I’ve witnessed impatient drivers and drivers who illegally text while driving. And I’ve seen how easily accidents can happen in the blink of an eye, especially when drivers are negligent, which sadly occurs far more often than you might think. Every year, bicyclists die in Colorado as the result of encounters with careless motorists.
I understand that not even all law enforcement officers are knowledgeable about cyclists’ rights in Colorado. I’m a former competitive cyclist, and I myself have had police officers try to cite me for riding side by side with someone else, when the law states that I am free to do that on a four-lane road where there is another lane to pass.
So, when you hire me to represent your bicycle accident case, you know you are getting not only a seasoned attorney with a track record of wins against insurance companies but a sympathetic cycling fan too.
Because I have years of experience at the negotiating table, along with my cycling background, I know what you are truly entitled to in damages from your accident. And I’ll fight so you have the best possible chance to get them.
If you or a loved one was injured in a bicycle accident, it’s important not to wait to call a lawyer. We want the details to be fresh in everyone’s mind, and we don’t want the statute of limitations to run out on filing a claim.