Nearly 50,000 bicyclists are injured, and more than 700 die each year in traffic accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The majority of these accidents occur in busy urban areas, where cars and bicycles must share the road in a hectic environment. There are lots of contributing factors to bike accidents, from driver negligence to poorly designed roadways. New nationwide initiatives are always in the works to increase safety for all road users, but the number of yearly injuries and fatalities for cyclists continues to climb.
When a bicyclist is injured or killed in a traffic accident that someone else caused or contributed to, the victim or his/her family can file a claim against the at-fault party to recover damages. For help with bicycle accidents in Washington or Oregon, you are invited to contact Willis & Toews, PLLC, for legal assistance.
Causes of Bicycle Accidents
In 2012, (the last year for which comprehensive NHTSA bicycle accident statistics are available), far too many cyclists were injured or killed in Washington and Oregon traffic accidents. Both states have a bicycle accident fatality rate that’s higher than the national average. Approximately 2.7 percent of traffic fatalities in Washington are bicyclists, and in Oregon, 3 percent of fatalities are bicyclists. The national average is 2.2 percent.
Below are a few some of the common causes of bicycle accidents.
- Driving while under the influence
- Failing to look properly, especially at junctions
- Driving or cycling recklessly or hurriedly
- Texting or talking on the phone while driving
- Poor turning and maneuvering practices
- Speeding or driving too fast for conditions
- Not following the rules of the road
- Cyclists making unpredictable movements
- Failing to yield the right of wayConfusing intersections or lack of bike-friendly pathways
Bicycle Accident Injuries
When a bicycle collides with a car, it’s the cyclist, of course, who sustains the brunt of the damage. Many accidents result in fatalities — particularly when traveling at high speeds or when not wearing a helmet. Unfortunately, many cyclists never fully recover after a serious traffic accident; they often have to deal with permanent disabilities.
Below are a few examples of some of the most common types of injuries cyclists sustain in serious collisions.
- Traumatic brain injuries
- All types of fractures, including skull, extremity and back fractures
- Facial and dental injuries
- Back injuries and spinal cord trauma
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Internal organ damage and internal bleeding
Filing a Claim for a Bicycle Accident
Bicycle accident victims (or their close family members, if incapacitated or deceased) should discuss their accident with an injury attorney. For help in Washington or Oregon, you can call our team at 509-529-0908 to begin reviewing your case. The call is free and, if we agree to work together, you will never be charged unless and until we win a settlement for you.
During our consultation, you can tell us about your accident and injuries, and we will begin discerning the facts. Below are some of the key steps we take and areas we focus on with bicycle accident cases.
- We will take the necessary steps to preserve and collect important evidence quickly, talk with witnesses and draft necessary legal documents.
- We review your medical records and get doctors’ input on your condition. We want to understand the severity and prognosis of your condition so that we can ensure you are compensated accordingly.
- We also will attempt negotiations with the other side to try to maximize the settlement you are awarded.
- If a fair and full agreement cannot be reached, we will prepare the case in for court and litigate for your best interests.
Note, there are time limits for filing a bicycle accident injury or wrongful death claim in Washington or Oregon. You’ll want to get the ball rolling as soon as possible. Contact Willis & Toews, PLLC, to schedule a consultation today.