Bicycle Accident Attorney
Bicycles are a great form of transportation. Not only are they good for your health, but they’re also economical and good for the environment.
Unfortunately, automobile drivers don’t always respect or even look out for bicyclists while on the road. This negligence can lead to tragic outcomes. A bicycle provides riders with less protection than a vehicle. If you’re in an accident with a car while riding your bike, your injuries are usually going to be more severe than the driver’s, because your body is fully exposed to the impact. If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident, you deserve a lawyer with proven results that you can trust.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a bicycle accident in Brockton or anywhere in Massachusetts, contact our bicycle accident attorneys today. Injuries from a bicycle accident can be very severe, as bicyclists aren’t surrounded by the tons of metal that motorists are.
About the Law Offices of Gerald J. Noonan
We have a long history of successfully obtaining compensation for people who were injured in bicycle accidents—and of obtaining justice for those denied it. In one case, for example, an underinsurance carrier denied a claim for a knee injury caused by a bicycle accident, arguing that the injured woman did not complain of knee pain until 15 months after the accident. The victim had needed several surgeries related to the accident. We were able to negotiate so that the denial was overturned. The client received the policy limit of $80,000 that had been initially denied. The overall settlement, including an initial insurance claim at the policy limit of $20,000, was $100,000.
Causes of Bicycle Accidents
Bicycle accidents kill more than 1,000 people every year in the United States, and caused 467,000 injuries, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The possibility of bicycle accidents can be especially high in suburban areas around greater Boston like Brockton, as the great majority—70 percent—of bike accidents happen in urban areas, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Only 30 percent happen in rural areas. Thirty percent of bicycle accident deaths happen in intersections.
Bicyclists are generally more aware of their surroundings than other drivers because they know the risks associated with riding a bike. Bikes are smaller than cars, but that doesn’t excuse another driver’s negligence.
Common causes of bicycle accidents include:
- A driver not looking carefully when changing lanes
- A driver or passenger in a parked car opening one of the car’s doors without looking
- A driver sideswiping a bicycle while sharing a lane
- A driver crossing in front of a bicycle
- A driver rear-ending a bicycle
These common accidents usually result from car driver negligence. Even if unintentional, the driver of the car acted in a way that put the bicyclist in danger of severe injury. These injuries can alter a victim’s life forever. Dealing with the aftermath of a bicycle accident is frustrating, stressful, and can interfere with an individual’s recovery. At the law Offices of Gerald J. Noonan, let us handle the legal details of your personal injury claim while you focus on making a full and complete recovery.
Bicycle Accidents Cause Multiple Injuries
Injuries from a bicycle accident are usually severe. A bicycle does not provide as much protection as a car. Bicyclists’ bodies are fully exposed to the impact when involved in an accident.
Bicyclists can be hit by vehicles much larger than theirs going at very high speeds. They can be thrown from their bicycles. Bicycle accidents can result in:
- Cuts and bruises
- Broken bones
- Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
The effect of injuries such as TBIs, spinal cord injuries, and complicated fractures can be long-lasting and may require significant medical attention. Additionally, you’ll probably spend time out of work during your recovery, and you may quickly find yourself in a tough financial spot.
You didn’t cause the accident or your injuries, so you should not be responsible for any of the associated costs. As Massachusetts personal injury lawyers, our focus is on helping our clients get the compensation that they need to cover all of their bills. At the Law Offices of Gerald J. Noonan, our results speak for themselves.
If you sustained an injury in a bicycle accident, you deserve a compassionate but aggressive personal injury lawyer. Contact us today to see how we can help.
Who’s at Fault in a Bicycle Accident?
Determining fault in a bicycle accident requires looking at who or what caused the accident. Under Massachusetts law, everyone operating a vehicle is responsible for following traffic laws and operating the vehicle safely. If they do not, they can be liable for the injuries (or death) sustained in a vehicle accident.
If a car hits a bicyclist, because the driver is driving distractedly or going over the speed limit, for example, they are responsible for the accident. The driver of a truck or motorcycle could be responsible if they were behaving similarly and hit a bicyclist.
Of course, bicycles are also vehicles. Bicyclists are responsible for obeying all laws and operating their vehicles prudently. Massachusetts is a comparative negligence state. As a result, any legal award given for a bicycle accident can be reduced if the court determines that the bicyclist is partly responsible for the accident.
Bicycle accidents can be caused by factors other than a vehicle driver, of course. Poor roadway repair or other road or bike path conditions, like potholes, can cause a bicyclist to have an accident. In cases like this, it may be possible to recover personal injury claims from the authority responsible for maintaining the area.
Bicycle accidents can also be caused by weather or other external conditions. If a bicyclist takes a spill due to ice, for example, it can be very damaging. However, no other party is at fault for this, usually (unless you are hit after you fall). Bicyclists are responsible for operating their bicycle safely in all weather conditions—or avoiding biking if it’s unsafe.
What Damages Can You Recover for a Bicycle Accident?
Massachusetts is a no-fault state for vehicle accidents. If you are in a bicycle accident that results in injuries requiring medical treatment, property damage (such as damage to the bicycle or other property), or loss of wages from your job, you file a claim with your own insurance carrier.
There are several exceptions, however, in which you can pursue a personal injury suit against the person or other party who caused by accident. The first exception is if reasonable medical expenses to treat the injuries totaled more than $2,000. In they do, you can file a claim to receive compensation for medical bills related to the accident. The second is if the accident resulted in permanent and serious disfigurement, fractured bone(s), and/or loss of hearing or sight. In those cases, you can file a personal injury claim. Personal injury claims in Massachusetts can compensate you for damages including medical treatment, lost wages from work, and pain and suffering.
In addition, although a bicyclist’s own insurance carrier should compensate the victim in the case of a bicycle accident, sometimes insurance carriers deny a valid claim or use other techniques to pay less than they should. They may claim, for example, that an injury is the result of factors other than the accident itself.
The best way to ensure that you get back on your feet following a bicycle accident is to focus on your recovery rather than worry about how you’re going to pay your bills. If you retain the Law Offices of Gerald J. Noonan to assist you with your personal injury claim, we will fight to secure compensation for the following:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Past, present, and future medical bills
- Lost current and future wages
- Rehabilitation costs
- Home accommodations
- Loss of companionship
Your injuries may put you out of work for a significant period of time or even permanently. Because of this, you need compensation to cover your medical bills and any necessary costs associated with improving your home to accommodate your new needs. At the Law Offices of Gerald J. Noonan, we can help you accurately calculate all of your costs. Many people underestimate their future needs and end up having to pay these bills out of pocket. We won’t let that happen. We’ll work with you to create an estimate of the full value of your claim. We’ll then negotiate with the insurance company to try and secure compensation in this amount. If we can’t settle for a sufficient amount, we’ll take your case to trial.
The best part is, you pay us nothing upfront. We don’t get paid unless you win, and we only take cases that we think we can win.
Following your bike accident, the negligent driver’s insurance company will likely contact you with a settlement offer. The insurance company knows you’re probably out of work and racking up large medical bills. Accordingly, it will try to take advantage of your situation and get you to accept a low initial settlement offer.
Insurance companies are in the business of making money. If you accept the initial offer, the insurance company has won. By settling quickly, you get access to fast cash to help you cover your immediate bills. But that’s all you get. Your settlement likely won’t include enough funds to cover your future costs. You deserve better than simply covering your bills for now; you should seek compensation for all of your expenses that result from your accident.
Let us help you hold the negligent party accountable and prevent you from having to pay any costs out of your own pocket. You didn’t cause the accident, so you shouldn’t have to pay for it.
Can a Driver Who Caused a Bicycle Accident Claim They Aren’t Responsible?
The fact is, responsibility for any accident, including bicycle accidents, can be disputed. Even a driver who clearly was responsible for a causal factor in a bicycle accident, such as running a red light, can argue they aren’t responsible. Drivers can say they were driving slower or more safely than they in fact were.
As a result, you need evidence of what occurred in an accident, so call the police. A police report describes what occurred, the vehicles involved, the conditions, and so on. It’s also a good idea to take pictures with your smartphone at the scene of the accident. Skid marks, the location of any damage to your or your bike and the other vehicle, and other physical markings can determine what occurred.
Brockton Bicycle Accident FAQ
We have provided some answers below, because bicyclists and motorists alike must understand the laws that help keep us safe.
What are the different types of bicycle accidents?
Bicyclists should understand that there are different types of bicycle accidents. Two in particular stand out.
Doorings. Have you ever seen a vehicle driver or passenger open their door into the path of an oncoming bicyclist? If you have, you have seen a dooring.
Dooring is actually much more dangerous than people might suspect. Some statistics indicate that doorings could account for roughly a fifth of all bicycle accidents.
Doorings are usually startling for cyclists. They may not be traditionally associated with the worst injuries, but a person can experience serious harm from a dooring incident.
We expect people in cars to do their part to help keep pedestrians and bicyclists safe. When they fail to do so through an action like opening a door into an oncoming cyclist, they engaged in an act of negligence.
Intersection accidents. It is easy to see why accidents take place in intersections, where people constantly stop and go from the same place.
A lot of bicycle accidents occur in intersections. Motorists should look for two kinds of intersection accidents in particular:
- Right hook accidents: Right hook accidents occur when drivers traveling in the same direction as a cyclist attempts to pass or overtake that cyclist to make a right turn.
- Left cross accidents: Left cross bicycle accidents are very common. They occur when a vehicle makes an unexpected left turn into, or in front of, a bicyclist.
If I was injured riding my bicycle. Can I sue the driver that caused the accident?
As long as the driver was at fault for your accident (even partially), you may work with an attorney to file a suit.
What should I do after a bicycle accident?
- Do not leave the scene of a bicycle accident. Seek medical attention for yourself and anyone else who needs it, immediately.
- Obtain contact information from witnesses and other people who were involved in the crash.
- File an accident report with the police before leaving.
Who should I expect to recover damages from in court?
Bicycle accident survivors may collect damages from:
- Negligent automobile drivers
- Negligent vehicle manufacturers or servicers: Sometimes, even when an accident seems like it is a driver’s fault, a manufacturing or service mistake may have caused the problem.
- The city, county, or state that is responsible for maintaining roadways: A bicycle accident does not have to involve an automobile at all. Road conditions can, and do, cause serious accidents every day.
- Negligent bike repair shops or mechanics: If your bike is the one that proved to be dangerous to you, the bike repair shop or mechanic that created the issue may hold some liability.
What are some examples of recoverable damages in a bicycle accident case?
Bicycle accident survivors could pursue compensation for damages.
Aside from the common damages, like medical bills, you may be interested to learn that you may recover damages like:
- Pain and suffering and mental anguish – Some accidents cause more physical and/or mental pain than others. If your accident mentally or physically damaged you, you might recover additional damages.
- Property damage – You may recover property damage costs if the accident damaged your bike or any of your other belongings.
- Lost wages and/or reduced earning ability – These damages account for the financial loss that bicycle accident survivors experience when their injuries put them out of work. Victims may recover reduced earning ability damages if the accident altered their earning potential.
What if someone else’s actions forced me to crash or become injured, but we did not actually collide?
People have a responsibility to help keep each other safe on the road. This is true even if no crash occurred.
If this is the case, you may still have the right to bring a suit against someone whose negligence caused your injuries.
- Sometimes, bicyclists must take evasive maneuvers to keep themselves safe—but this does not always work.
- As long as you can prove another party’s responsibility, it can still be possible to bring a case against someone who caused your harm but did not collide with you.
Insurance adjusters are calling about my bicycle accident. Should I speak to them?
No. Refer them to us.
The insurance company will try to trip you up and admit full or partial fault and use it to deny or reduce your claim.
The insurance company might try to offer you an initial settlement offer that is too small. If you agree to a settlement offer before you realize the full weight of that decision, there is no chance to turn back.
A bicycle accident survivor should partner with a trustworthy lawyer before communicating with insurance agencies. This way, a legal party on your side can inform you of available options and help you make decisions throughout your case.
What is my bicycle accident case worth?
Nobody can tell you until you reach a settlement agreement or win your case. Your lawyer may offer a better idea of your case’s potential value, but the decision comes down to the settlement agreement or the factfinder.
Some factors that can influence a case’s value include:
- The type of injuries you sustained;
- The cost of medical treatment;
- Whether your experience caused you to miss work; and
- Whether your injuries have long-term impacts.
Why should I work with a bicycle accident attorney?
It can help to retain a bicycle accident attorney to help with your case. A skilled lawyer could help you navigate the complexities of the law without making your head spin. In fact, you want to work with a bicycle accident attorney for many reasons.
Some of these include:
- They can help you gather evidence;
- They act as a middle-man between you and insurance companies;
- They can bring in industry experts to help strengthen your case; and
- They understand every avenue for compensation.
Do You Need a Brockton, Massachusetts Bicycle Accident Attorney?
Retaining an experienced personal injury attorney can help remove the stress of legal complexities so that you can focus on your recovery. When you let us handle all negotiations with the insurance company, we will aggressively fight to get you the full value of your claim. We won’t settle unless it’s in your best interest.
Our knowledgeable and experienced Boston-area bicycle accident lawyers are available to assist you on your path to recovery. We represent individuals throughout Massachusetts, including in Brockton. No matter where your accident occurred, our seasoned team of personal injury lawyers is ready to help you get back on your feet.
While most cases do settle out of court, we are fully prepared to take your case to trial, if necessary. We offer you experience, a stellar reputation, and a strong track record.
Let the Law Offices of Gerald J. Noonan help you understand your legal options after a bicycle accident. For a free initial consultation and case review, contact us online or by calling (508) 588-0422.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
“I am very pleased with the professionalism of Atty. Brendon Noonan. He has worked thoroughly to settle my case. I am satisfied with the results of his efforts. I would recommend him and the law offices of Gerald J. Noonan without hesitation.”
Review by: James G.