Ah, the exhilaration of cruising down city streets or winding country roads on your trusty bicycle. The wind in your hair, the freedom, the sheer joy of it all! But then, in the blink of an eye, you’re sprawled on the pavement, the world spinning, and your bike looking more like modern art than a means of transportation.
After the initial shock and a quick inventory of your limbs, you’re hit with a nagging question: “Should I be calling a lawyer right now?” Well, let’s pedal through this conundrum together, shall we?
Quick Glance at Bicycle Accident Stats
Every year, bicycles grow in popularity, with more folks opting for this environmentally-friendly and health-conscious mode of transportation. But with this increase, there’s a rising tide of potential accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2019 alone, 846 bicyclists were killed in traffic crashes in the United States. But it’s not just the fatal incidents that are concerning. Many more suffer injuries, some of which can alter the course of their lives forever.
The severity can range from minor scrapes and bruises to more grievous injuries like traumatic brain injuries, fractures, or even paralysis. A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) highlighted that in one year, emergency departments treated over 466,000 bicycle-related injuries. That’s more than a thousand riders getting injured every day!
Navigating the Legal Landscape of Bicycle Accidents
Now, here’s where things get really interesting. Many folks believe that just because they’re on two wheels instead of four, the road rights somehow differ. Spoiler alert: they don’t. As a cyclist, you’re entitled to the same rights (and responsibilities) as the dude in the pickup truck next to you or the lady zipping by in her convertible.
However, there are common misconceptions. For instance, many believe bicyclists should always ride against traffic. Wrong. In fact, riding against traffic can increase your risk of an accident. Then there’s the myth that bicycles aren’t allowed on sidewalks. While the rules vary by municipality, in many places, as long as you’re giving pedestrians the right of way, you’re good to go.
Still, despite these rights, when bicycle accidents happen, cyclists often find themselves facing an uphill battle (pun slightly intended). Whether it’s proving fault, negotiating with insurance companies, or just trying to get your damaged bike’s costs covered, the legal complexities can be daunting for the uninitiated.
Top Bicycle Accident Law Firm: GJEL Accident Attorneys
With over $950 million in compensation recovered, 99.99% success rate, and a long list of awards and accolades, GJEL is the golden standard for accident, personal injury, and wrongful death lawsuits. GJEL never takes a single cent from their clients until they’ve succeeded at achieving compensation; check out their extensive list of successful bicycle accident verdicts. They are passionate, assertive, and highly experienced at winning cases. If you or a loved one has been in an accident, we strongly advise you to contact GJEL immediately for a free consultation: 866-254-5579
Why Hiring an Attorney Makes a Huge Difference
When your two-wheeled companion takes a hit, and you’re sprawled on the asphalt assessing the damage, it might be tempting to simply swap insurance details, shake hands, and move on. But let’s pump the brakes on that thought for a moment and understand why having an attorney in your corner might be your smartest move.
A. The Complexity of Liability:
Here’s the thing: accidents, especially on the road, rarely have a clear-cut black-and-white narrative. Sarah honked, but maybe you didn’t hear because of your headphones. A pothole you swerved to avoid was actually the city’s responsibility due to a lack of maintenance. The layers can get intricate.
It’s not just about you and the driver; it can involve city officials, construction companies, or even manufacturers in case of a faulty bike part. Pinning down exactly who’s at fault? It’s like trying to ride up a steep hill with a flat tire: grueling if you’re not prepared. But with an attorney? They’ve got the gears and the gusto to scale that incline smoothly.
B. Financial Repercussions:
Money matters. There, I said it. And trust me, those hospital bills are not waiting around. A simple arm fracture might set you back a couple grand, and let’s not even start on therapy or long-term care. Plus, there’s the income you lose when you’re out of commission. The real zinger? The potential long-term impacts. We’re talking about physical therapy, long-term medication, even home modifications for serious injuries.
An attorney ensures you’re not left pocketing these expenses. They understand the real worth of your claim and won’t let insurance companies lowball you with settlements that won’t even cover your initial medical bills.
C. Emotional & Psychological Support:
Beyond the paperwork and the legalese, there’s a human side to all of this. The trauma of an accident isn’t just physical; it leaves scars on the mind too. An attorney isn’t a therapist, sure, but knowing there’s someone who’s got your back, who’s fighting for you, it brings a peace of mind that’s invaluable.
You know what’s worse than aggressive drivers on the road? Aggressive insurance companies off it. They’ve got one aim: to minimize payouts. Your lawyer? Their aim is you: your welfare, your rights, and your recovery.
When It Might Be Okay to Go Solo (But Tread Carefully!)
Alright, it’s not all doom and gloom. There might be instances where you feel you can handle the aftermath of a minor bicycle accident solo. Maybe it was a teeny scrape with your neighbor, both of you emerged without a scratch, and the only casualty was your lunch that got squished in your backpack.
In cases where the fault is crystal clear, injuries are non-existent, and the damages are minimal, you might think about navigating the aftermath yourself. Got a comprehensive record of the incident, photographic evidence, and feel confident you understand your local laws? You could potentially take the reins.
However — and this is a big however — it doesn’t hurt to have a quick chat with an attorney. Think of it as a safety helmet for the legal process. You might not always need it, but boy, when you do, you’ll be glad it’s there.
Choosing the Right Attorney: It’s Not a Blind Ride
So, you’ve decided you might need an attorney. First off, high-five for being proactive about your situation. But, let’s be real here; not all attorneys are made equal. Just like choosing between a mountain bike or a sleek road racer, you’ve got to pick the right fit for your needs.
Experience matters. You wouldn’t trust someone who’s never fixed a bike to tinker with your prized possession, right? The same goes for attorneys. You want someone who knows bicycle accident cases inside and out. They’ve been down this road before (pun absolutely intended) and can anticipate bumps along the way.
Good communication is essential. You don’t want to be left pedaling in the dark, wondering where your case stands. A good attorney will keep you in the loop, updating you on the progress and ensuring you understand every twist and turn of the legal journey.
Lastly, let’s talk dollars and cents. A transparent fee structure is crucial. No one likes surprise costs, especially when you’re already dealing with post-accident expenses. The best law firms should never charge you a single penny unless they’ve won your case, because this incentivizes them to win and to get you as much compensation as possible.
Enter GJEL. They tick all these boxes as bicycle accident lawyers. With a track record of standing up for injured cyclists and a transparent approach, they’ve carved a niche as one of the best in the biz. Your ride might have been rough, but with GJEL, your legal journey won’t be.
Making Your First Move Post-Accident
The minutes and hours post-accident can be a blur. The adrenaline’s pumping, and your head’s buzzing with a million thoughts. So, what’s the game plan?
Firstly, health comes first. Before diving into legalities, ensure you and anyone else involved gets the medical attention needed. Even if you feel okay, a quick check-up is essential. Some injuries, like concussions, can be sneaky and might not show symptoms immediately.
Document, document, document! Can’t stress this enough. Grab snapshots of the accident scene, your injuries, and damages to your bike. These will be invaluable when making a claim.
Exchange information with the involved parties. Get names, contact info, and insurance details. If there were witnesses, get their info too; they might be helpful down the line.
Now, when to ring up an attorney? Here’s our two cents: the sooner, the better. Even if you’re on the fence about hiring one, a consultation can offer clarity. They can guide you on the next steps, ensuring you don’t inadvertently jeopardize your claim. Remember, in the legal realm, early bird often gets the worm – or in our case, justice and fair compensation!
About GJEL Accident Attorneys
GJEL was founded by Andy Gillin, who was raised in Southern California. He attended U.C. Berkeley where he studied under two famous legal academics: Jacobus tenBroek and Al Bendich. After graduating, he attended the University of Chicago where he received his Juris Doctor. Andy is a prolific author and lecturer, particularly on the subject of settlement strategies and trial practices. He is also featured in the California Trial Lawyers Syllabus. Andy currently holds the prestigious AV Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell, and is listed as one of the top lawyers in America by Super Lawyers and the Best Lawyers in America. Call for a free consultation: 866-254-5579