Although the League of American Bicyclists has ranked Washington as one of the most “bicycle-friendly” states in the county, accidents still happen. In the blink of an eye, a negligent driver can change the course of a cyclist’s life forever. Bones can be broken, the body can be disfigured, and medical bills can pile up faster than the money to pay for them. Cyclists are often left vulnerable and unsure where to turn for help in attempting to recover the compensation they so desperately need.
The Bellevue personal injury lawyers of Tamaki Law are the resource that injured cyclists can turn to in their time of need. Our team of experienced attorneys will utilize all legal avenues open to them to help an injured victim recover the compensation they are entitled to after an accident. If you’ve been struck by a car and want more information about how an attorney may be able to help you, contact the office of Tamaki Law at (425) 679-6421. The initial consultation is free, and we work on a contingent fee basis, meaning we don’t get paid until we get compensation for you.
Why You Need a Bellevue Bicycle Accident Attorney
When a car collides with a bicyclist, the consequences can be perilous. Riders are often caught off guard, with no time to protect themselves or take evasive maneuvers. Dealing with the extensive injuries, paying for the resulting medical bills, and trying to file an insurance claim can all take their toll on an already vulnerable accident victim.
Thankfully, accident victims in Bellevue have a knowledgeable and experienced team ready to step in and help them fight to protect their rights and work towards earning them fair compensation for their injuries. At Tamaki Law, we are committed to assisting cyclists hurt in automobile accidents. Our goal is to use the full extent of the law to seek compensation that can cover medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage. Without an experienced attorney to protect their best interests, a victim may fall prey to bullying tactics and get taken advantage of by the driver’s insurance company.
Why do you need the strength and experience of Tamaki Law after a serious bicycle accident? Because having us on your side can make a big difference. Here are just some of the ways getting our team involved can benefit you:
- Help the victim file necessary paperwork and claims forms
- Advise the victim of their legal rights following an accident
- Review all available legal avenues for seeking compensation
- Handle all communication with the insurance company or a third party and advocate on the victim’s behalf
- Investigate the cause of the accident
- Collect evidence, documentation, witness statements, and other relevant information before it is lost or destroyed
- Review and assign a fair market value to the victim’s claim
- Negotiate a favorable settlement on the victim’s behalf
- Prepare a lawsuit if the insurance company will not negotiate in good faith
An experienced Bellevue attorney is your key to not settling for less than what your claim is truly worth. For more information on how our team may be able to help you after a serious bicycle accident, contact our office today at (425) 679-6421.
Common Causes of Bellevue Bicycle Accidents
While infrastructure has been getting better and there are more designated bike paths and lanes than ever, drivers that fail to follow the rules of the road and share the space with cyclists will always present danger. Intersections have always been particular danger zones for both bikers and pedestrians, but in Washington, according to data from the Traffic Safety Commission, at least 70 percent of bicyclists were killed in traffic accidents where the posted speed limit was 30 mph or higher. Bikes lanes and other seemingly “safe” zones on area roadways do not always equal an accident-free experience, especially when a negligent driver is involved.
Negligent and distracted drivers are the main causes of bicycle accidents. Cyclists are smaller and much more agile than other cars, meaning many drivers don’t notice that a cyclist is near until it is too late. Some of the most common causes of these types of serious and sometimes deadly traffic interactions include:
- Distracted driving
- Drunk driving
- Fatigued driving
- Lane merging accidents
- Intersection accidents
- Dooring accidents
- Failure to yield
- Driving too close to a bike lane
- Parking lot accidents
- Driveway or intersection accidents
Dangerous Areas for Bicyclists
Any road can be dangerous for a cyclist if a driver is not exercising due caution. However, some Bellevue streets and intersections are more dangerous for pedestrians and bicyclists than others. One of those corridors is Bellevue’s NE 8th Street, the site of numerous and sometimes deadly collisions between cyclists and cars. The death of an elderly pedestrian in late November 2020 marked the third fatality at this location in 15 months. Data from the city estimates that 56 percent of serious crashes in the city happen on just seven percent of the city’s main network of streets.
As with many other cities, the downtown area is also a location that sees a lot of cars and cyclists coming into close contact with one another. Whenever there are narrow and busy streets and lots of cars, pedestrians, and cyclists, accidents will happen. Some of the other city streets that have been highlighted for their dangerous conditions and numbers of serious and fatal accidents include:
- 118th Ave SE
- 156th Ave NE
- 140th Ave NE
- NE 24th ST
- Lakemont Blvd SE
- Northup Way
- Coal Creek Pkwy SE
- 116th Ave NE
- Bel Red Rd
- W Lake Sammamish Pkwy SE
Common Injuries from Bicycle Accidents
Even though the City of Bellevue has joined the Vision Zero initiative, a program that aims to eliminate traffic deaths by the year 2030, there is still work to be done. Accidents still happen, and a careless driver can seriously injure a bicyclist before the victim even knows what hit them. Some of the more common injuries that tend to be associated with bicycle accidents involving cars include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Other head, neck, and spinal injuries
- Facial injuries
- Dental injuries
- Fractured bones
- Road rash
- Soft tissue damage
- Internal organ damage
- Wrongful death
Compensation for a Bicycle Accident
A cyclist involved in a serious accident with a negligent driver may be able to recover compensation for their injuries. While the amount of compensation can vary depending on how the accident occurred and the severity of the injuries involved, victims may be able to seek money to cover their medical expenses and lost wages, among other things.
The total value of a claim is calculated by totaling the victim’s economic damages with their noneconomic damages. Economic damages are relatively straightforward to tabulate because they are measurable losses resulting from the accident. Noneconomic damages are more subjective to calculate and include factoring in how the accident changed a victim’s quality of life and their level of emotional distress. Overall, a victim may be able to recover money that will account for the following:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Property damage
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
It is significant to note that the value of the claim is not the same thing as the amount of money that a victim may ultimately end up walking away with. The allocation and distribution of compensation following an accident are governed by the state’s “pure comparative fault” regulation. This rule bases compensation on the amount of fault that each party contributes to causing the accident. If the court determines that a victim’s actions played a role in causing the accident, that will influence how much compensation that may be able to recover. If the cyclist is found to be 20 percent liable for an accident, that would be allowed to recover the total amount of compensation the court finds they’re owed minus 20 percent.
Even the at-fault party is allowed to recover compensation under this model. If a driver is 90 percent responsible for causing an accident, the courts will allow them to recover the total amount of compensation they are due minus 90 percent. However, the at-fault party or their insurance provider will also be responsible for paying the victim’s portion of the compensation as well.
The pure comparative fault rule binds Washington courts. However, it also strongly influences how an insurance adjuster will view an accident claim. Insurance adjusters may use this rule to guide their accident estimations, coming up with a figure close to what a court would decide if the claim ever went to trial.
For an accurate assessment of the value of your bicycle accident claim, contact an experienced Bellevue bicycle accident attorney. An attorney can review your case, place a value on your claim, and advise you of the best avenue forward for recovering compensation.
Talk to an Experienced Bellevue Bicycle Accident Attorney
Bicyclists hurt in serious car accidents deserve fair compensation and aggressive representation. Before medical bills bury you in debt and cause financial hardship, talk to an experienced Bellevue bicycle accident attorney. An attorney can help determine an accurate estimate of the value of your claim and fight to recover the money you deserve.
At Tamaki Law, we have carved out a strong reputation for integrity and strive to deliver results for our clients. If you’ve been hurt in an accident, turn to the team at Tamaki Law for help. Let’s start with a free consultation to talk about how we may be able to help you. Contact us today at (425) 679-6421.