Boulder Bicycle Accident Lawyers
CALL (800) 863-5312 TO SPEAK WITH A BOULDER BICYCLE ACCIDENT LAWYER FOR FREE
Though riding a bicycle can be both good for the environment and your health, bicyclists often get injured on the roads and sidewalks that they share with drivers and pedestrians.
If you or your loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation with one of our Boulder bicycle accident lawyers.
Colorado Bicycle Accident Statistics
According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, there has been an increase in bicycle fatalities in the past few years. In 2018, there were 22 bicycle fatalities. According to a study done by the Colorado State Patrol, there were around 250 bicyclist-pedestrian crashes annually between 2014 and 2018. Another study by the city of Boulder showed that bicyclists accounted for 40% of all severe crashes between 2015 and 2017 despite only being involved in 6% of the crashes between 2015 and 2017.
Types of Bicycle Accidents
Door accidents arise when a driver exits from a parked car and does not see a bicyclist approaching. As a result, the bicyclist crashes into the driver-side door and suffers serious injuries due to the impact and fall.
Drivers are often impatient when driving behind a cyclist. As a result, many drivers try to overtake the cyclist. However, when they do so, they sometimes do not give enough space between themselves and the bicyclist. Consequently, the bicyclist hits the car’s side and suffers injuries.
This often occurs because drivers do not look out for cyclists. When the cyclist suddenly appears in their field of view, it is too late, and they cannot stop in time to avoid an accident.
Distracted Driving Accidents
These days, drivers have many distractions at their disposal. Fidgeting with their GPS or texting while driving can lead to accidents with a bicyclist.
Impaired Driving Accidents
Drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol often cannot react in time to avoid a bicyclist.
Excessive speed can lead to a crash as a driver cannot stop in time to avoid the crash.
Dangerous Road Conditions
Automobile drivers are not the only cause of bicycle accidents. Poorly maintained sidewalks and other property damage can cause bicycle accidents. Below is a list of some dangerous road conditions:
- Accumulated snow or ice
- Inadequate signs
- Missing or faded lane markers
Common Types of Injuries
Traumatic Brain Injury
Traumatic brain injury, or TBI, occurs when an individual hits his or her head against another object or if the head is shaken with a force strong enough to disrupt brain function. TBIs can occur in bicycle accidents because a bicyclist is often thrown headfirst over the handlebars, striking either the ground, a vehicle, or another object.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries can cause the loss of sensation and movement below the affected part of the spinal cord. Depending on the severity of the impact, a bicyclist who falls off his bike due to a crash may suffer a spinal cord injury.
Broken bones or fractures are among the most common injuries suffered in bicycle accidents. Fractures can occur when a bicyclist is struck by a sufficient force that breaks his or her bones. Though treatable, bicyclists can suffer from long-term pain even after the injury has been healed.
Road rashes are a type of skin injury that occurs when the skin slides against the road.
What to Do After a Bicycle Accident
1. Report the Accident
If you are involved in a bicycle accident, you should report the accident to the police. Even though a bicycle accident may not necessarily be a car accident, the police will generally write a report of the accident. This report often determines who was at fault and may be essential if you decide to file a claim.
2. Collect Evidence
Be sure to always document and retrieve evidence from the scene of the accident. Get the name, address, license number, plate number, and insurance information from all the drivers involved in the accident. Also, if the driver involved in an accident was working for an employer, you should obtain the name and contact information of the driver’s employer.
Witness testimony is also key. If there were witnesses to the accident, you should also get the names and contact information of the witnesses. If any of the witnesses took photographs or video recordings of the accident, ask them for copies. If you have a camera at the scene of the accident, take some photographs of the scene.
3. Get Medical Attention
Seek medical attention as soon as possible. Your health is your number one priority. However, by getting medical attention, you also get the benefit of having doctors to record your injuries. Do not refuse to go to the hospital just because you think you are fine after the accident. After an accident, you often have adrenaline that may mask some of your injuries’ effects. You should make sure that you have all your potential injuries recorded to have a chance of receiving a fair settlement.
4. Notify Insurance Company
Regardless of whose fault the accident is, you should always contact your insurance company as your insurance company may be able to give you some relief. However, do not make the mistake of talking about who was at fault for the accident. If your insurance company asks for a recorded statement, politely refuse.
5. Get a Lawyer
If you decide to file a claim and you believe that you may be able to do it on your own without hiring a lawyer, it may be still useful to at least consult with a lawyer to find out if there are any pitfalls in your case. This is especially true if you were injured due to a poorly maintained public road, as lawsuits against the government follow a different set of legal rules than standard lawsuits.
Who is at Fault in a Bike Accident in Colorado?
In Colorado, an injured bicyclist may file a claim against the at-fault driver. In general, the at-fault driver’s insurance claim will compensate the injured bicyclist if the bicyclist can prove the following:
Injured victims must show that the driver owed a bicyclist a duty of care. Because Colorado law states that bicyclists and drivers have an obligation to share the road, drivers owe a duty to bicyclists to not drive recklessly or negligently.
You must also show that the driver violated his or her duty of care. This means that the bicyclist must show that the driver did not drive as safely as he or she should have. For instance, if the driver was texting while driving, the bicyclist can use this as evidence of the driver violating his or her duty of care.
You must then show that the driver’s violation of his or her duty of care caused the injury.
Finally, you have to prove you suffered an injury. An injury encompasses not only physical injuries, but also financial and mental injuries as well.
Colorado’s Bicycle Safety Act
Colorado passed the Bicycle Safety Act in 2009 to help better delineate the duty drivers owe to bicyclists. Below are some of the takeaways from the act.
- Drivers must space themselves at least three feet away from a bicyclist when trying to pass them.
- Bicyclists riding side by side should ride in a single file when drivers approach from behind.
- Bicyclists are allowed to ride as far right in the right-hand lane as possible.
- Drivers are not permitted to threaten, crowd, swerve, or throw objects at bicyclists.
How is Compensation Calculated
Compensation is provided for economic losses and non-economic losses.
Economic losses include the following:
- Past and future medical bills
- Past and future lost wages
- Damaged property
- Past and future loss of earning capacity
Non-economic losses include the following:
- Past and future emotional anguish
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of activities
You also may be able to receive punitive damages, which is an additional source of compensation. If the driver that collided with your bicycle intended to cause injury to you, you may be able to receive punitive damages. The actual legal threshold you must prove to receive punitive damages is that the accident involved an act of malice, or willful and wanton conduct (a reckless disregard for the safety of others).
Colorado’s Comparative Negligence Law
Be aware that Colorado utilizes a modified comparative negligence law. This means that an injured bicyclist may only recover compensation in an accident if he or she was less than 50 percent at fault for the accident. A bicyclist may be at fault for an accident if he or she was riding outside the designated bike lane, riding on a highway, swerving recklessly in traffic, or stopping abruptly.
Statute of Limitations
Colorado has a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims. This means you must file a lawsuit within two years of the accident for it to be effective.
CONTACT A BOULDER BICYCLE ACCIDENT LAWYER
The experienced Boulder attorneys at Zinda Law Group may be able to help you with your personal injury claim. After an accident, you shouldn’t have to worry about affording legal representation, which is why we work on a contingency fee basis. You don’t owe us anything unless we win your case.
Meetings with attorneys by appointment only.