Riding a bicycle is a freeing experience and great exercise, but it can be an incredibly risky endeavor because of the risk of negligent drivers. Cyclists are left relatively unprotected as compared to other vehicles on the road around them. While bicycles have every right to share the road, often other drivers get impatient and do not respect cyclists' right of way.
As a result, cyclists can be seriously hurt or even killed because of a negligent motor vehicle driver. When this is the case, the injured cyclist or their family can bring a personal injury lawsuit to win the financial compensation they deserve. If you or someone you care for has been injured, the attorneys at accidentdenver.com are here to fight for your rights.
Bicycle Accident Lawyers in Denver, Colorado
When you are involved in a bicycle accident with a motor vehicle in the greater Denver, Colorado area, you need an experienced legal team to fight for you. Injuries sustained from bicycle accidents can negatively affect your life in both the short term and long term. If you suffered as a result of another person's negligence, you are entitled to financial compensation.
Our team at accidentdenver.com pride themselves on clear, honest, and open communication with each and every one of their clients. No matter how small or how big your case may be, the accidentdenver.com team will keep you informed every step of the way throughout the process and they will handle every detail seamlessly to put you on the road to recovery.
Accidentdenver.com takes cases on a contingency basis. This means that you pay nothing until your case has reached a favorable resolution. Let us put our years of experience to work for you and your loved ones.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
Bicycle accidents can be caused by any number of things. When that cause is the negligent action or conduct of another driver, severe injury or death may be the result. A personal injury lawsuit is designed to get you the financial compensation you deserve following an accident, no matter how large or small.
Common causes of cyclist accidents include, but are not limited to:
- poor weather conditions (slippery roads, poor visibility, night driving)
- intoxicated drivers (drugs, alcohol, prescription drugs, over the counter medications)
- distracted drivers (watching videos, texting while driving, playing with the radio, kids in the back seat, etc.)
- failure to yield right of way
- impatient drivers
- following too closely
- incorrect passing
- defective bike parts
- defective bike tires
- failure to signal
- medical conditions (diabetes, epilepsy, etc.)
When the cause of your bicycle accident is due to the negligence of another driver, or even if it was the defective manufacturer of your bike that caused your harm, you are entitled to bring a personal injury claim to fight for what is yours. You should not be on the hook for the costs of your injuries if they were not your fault. With the help of an experienced Denver personal injury lawyer, you can fight for the compensation you deserve.
Common Injuries in Bicyclist Accidents
Depending on the severity of the accident, a bicyclist can suffer very serious injuries. Whether it is a short fall or a full-on collision with a fast-moving car, the injuries suffered by the rider deserve compensation when the fault for the accident is another person's.
Common injuries include, but are not limited to:
- road rash (skin damage from contact with the road)
- head trauma
- traumatic brain injury
- broken bones
- spinal cord damage
- spinal disc bulges or ruptured discs
- neurological damage
- soft tissue injuries
- puncture wounds
- cardiovascular and heart damage
Many of these injuries might require emergency medical treatment or surgery or may even be fatal. When hospital treatment is involved, the cost is going to be high, even for what may appear a minor injury. A simple broken bone can easily reach into the tens of thousands of dollars in cost, depending on the severity of the bone break. Surgery or other procedures can cost even more, especially when hospitals have to use an MRI or CAT scan to determine the extent of your injuries.
How Auto Insurance Can Affect Bicyclists
When an accident occurs with a bicyclist, auto insurance can be involved in different ways. Some individuals carry policies that cover themselves even when they are riding a bike. When the injured person needs to rely on his or her own insurance, this can be very useful.
When the driver of a motor vehicle is the cause of your bicycle accident, and that person is covered by insurance as they should be under Colorado law, the insurance company should also be held responsible for the costs of your injuries and property damage. Insurance adjusters will attempt to find any excuse to get out of paying or reduce the amount they will pay you. It takes an experienced personal injury attorney to ensure that these insurance companies play by the rules and do not take advantage of you at this difficult time.
Personal Injury Claims for Cyclist Accidents
When you file a personal injury claim for a cycling accident, what you seek is financial compensation for your injuries caused by another person or a company. The purpose of the money damages is to hold the responsible party to their duty to pay for your injuries, which were not your fault. There are different types of damages you can receive in a cycling accident personal injury case, and understanding them will help you to understand the best path moving forward.
"Economic damages" are those that can be more easily identified with a specific dollar amount. The purpose is to compensate you for the out of pocket expenses you incurred because of the bicycle accident. This includes both past expenses and future expenses you will likely be forced to spend.
Economic damages include but are not necessarily limited to:
- past and current medical bills
- rehabilitation costs
- future medical bills
- loss of future earning capacity
- damage to property (vehicle destruction, repair costs, the property contained in the car that was damaged)
- lost wages
- psychological treatment costs
Economic damages are usually provable through documentary evidence such as bills, receipts, invoices, or other "paper evidence" that proves a specific dollar amount you spent because of your injuries. This can include lost wages and loss of future earning capacity. Future costs typically require expert testimony in order to prove them.
Proving the amount of economic damages you truly suffered can be tricky without an experienced bicycle accident lawyer to help. Colorado has very specific rules of evidence that must be followed, and analyzing the complex records of your case can be difficult without legal training and experience.
"Non-economic damages" represent more subjective losses, and are not as easy to identify with any kind of "paper" proof. Even though they are more subjective, this does not mean they are any less important.
Non-economic damages can include, but are not limited to:
- pain and suffering
- loss of consortium
- mental suffering
- psychological damage and harm
- loss of enjoyment
It takes a great deal of experience to prove to a jury the proper amount of non-economic damages to which you are entitled. To prove losses such as pain and suffering, certain practiced methods have to be used. This will help the jury understand not only the medical costs you suffered but also the pain, frustration, and time you lost as a result of the accident.
Non-economic damages can be a substantial part of your damages award. This may be true even though you have completely healed from your injuries by the time of trial. You deserve to be compensated for the pain you have suffered as a result of the accident.
Caps on Damages in Colorado
Certain limitations or "caps" are placed on certain types of damages in bicycle accidents. While economic damages do not have a cap placed upon them, non-economic damages do.
Under Colorado law, limits are placed on pain and suffering damages. This cap is set at $250,000, adjusted for inflation as of the date the Colorado law was adopted by the Legislature. Understanding how inflation has adjusted the cap is a conversation you can have with your attorney, as they are qualified to tell you what the adjusted cap will be at the time of your accident or trial.
Ultimately, this means that if the jury awards more than the $250,000 cap for pain and suffering, the damages will be reduced to the level of the cap, unless an exception applies. When a person suffers permanent physical impairment as a result of a bicycle accident, the pain and suffering limitation does not apply.
Personal Injury Claim vs. Insurance Settlement
In many cases, the negligent party's insurance company will send you a settlement offer in order to resolve the case. While it may be tempting to just take the offer and run, insurance companies are usually looking to save money by low-balling the amount to which you are actually entitled.
With a personal injury claim, you can better control the settlement negotiations to work towards a number that better and more appropriately compensates you for your injuries. With the help of an experienced personal injury attorney at your side, you can review your case and make a more accurate assessment of the damages you suffered.
Having experienced legal advice is crucial to making sure you do not sign something that gives away your rights. A settlement offer from an insurance company will likely deprive you of your right to ask for more if you discover that you will have long-term costs associated with your injury.
Wrongful Death Actions in Bicycle Accidents
A wrongful death action is a case brought by the family members of a person killed in an accident. When a bicycle accident causes the death of a family member, the pain can seem unbearable. On top of this grief, the costs of the funeral, medical bills, and the loss of an income can greatly impact the family. The purpose of a wrongful death claim is to compensate the family members for the damages they have suffered.
There are specific rules that apply to who may properly bring a wrongful death action in Colorado. A person can file a wrongful death action if that person is:
- the spouse (or heirs with spouse's consent)
- if no spouse, the heirs of the victim (children)
- a designated beneficiary
The parents of the deceased person can only bring a wrongful death action if the victim left behind no spouse, children, or designated beneficiary.
Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death
The statute of limitations period for a wrongful death claim is different than the limitations period for a typical bicycle accident personal injury claim. Wrongful death actions must be filed within two years of the death of the victim.
This means that there is less time to file for wrongful death so it is very important that you consult an experienced Denver accident attorney as soon as possible after the death of a loved one. If you fail to file in time, your case will likely be dismissed by the court.
Damage Caps in Wrongful Death Cases
Just like a personal injury case, economic damages are typically not capped in wrongful death cases. A rare exception applies when no widow, widower, minor children, or dependent mother or father exist. When this is the case, a cap of $250,000 (adjusted for inflation) limits the economic damages in wrongful death cases.
Non-economic damages are still limited in these types of cases, capped at $250,000 (adjusted for inflation) or as much as $500,000 if clear and convincing evidence is shown that a higher amount is appropriate.
Consult an Experienced Denver Bicycle Accident Lawyer
The injuries you suffer from a bicycle accident can change your life forever. The incredible costs that can add up due to a bicycle accident is not a burden you should be required to bear. Instead, the burden of paying for your injuries should be put where it belongs—on the responsible party or parties.
If you or a loved one has been injured in any sort of bicycle accident in the greater Denver metropolitan area, please do not hesitate to contact accidentdenver.com today at 303-642-8888 for a free consultation. We are here waiting for you.